Today, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) released results from “Struggling to Recover: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children” in partnership with Agenda for Children, Louisiana Department of Education, New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Urban League of Louisiana and Women United of Southeast Louisiana. The virtual press conference was moderated by Louisiana Parenting Education Network Director Lenell Young and featured first-hand perspectives from the following mothers of young children: Celeste Carter, Melissa Goudeau, Morgan Lamandre and State Representative Stephanie Hilferty.
“There are many unknowns still ahead, but the report results emphasize the fact that the need for quality child care still exists for families and that the time to fund child care is now,” said Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of LPIC. “We must work to support the child care sector through public investments to increase the availability of quality, reliable child care for working parents and maintain expanded eligibility for essential workers to the Child Care Assistance Program.”
The findings and conclusions from the statewide survey provide insights into the needs and challenges of families with young children across Louisiana as the COVID-19 pandemic endures, reinforcing the following:
Families with young children continue to need child care to support parent employment or education, and parents must adjust schedules to fill child care gaps.
Families are struggling to afford child care and basic necessities with child care costing the average Louisiana family of four almost $10,000 a year.
Even in the face of reduced income, increased stress and concern about the spread of COVID-19, Louisiana working families continue to rely on child care.
Economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic hit families of color and lower income families especially hard.
Louisiana State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley said, “Our desire is to empower all families through access to high-quality early childhood programs as we strive to prepare every child in Louisiana for success when entering kindergarten. Early childhood education is the greatest educational challenge of our generation, and I appreciate our many partners advancing this cause, including the Policy Institute for gathering much-needed data to drive important decisions as we move forward.”
During the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, families faced shifting education and care options for their children as record numbers of Louisianans filed for unemployment. To support all facets of the recovery, Louisiana must increase funding for child care assistance at the state and local levels and direct any additional COVID-19 related federal investments toward supporting child care providers with keeping their doors open and rates affordable as they balance increased health and safety requirements, higher operational costs and lower enrollment capacities.
“Women United is proud to share the Policy Institute’s commitment to understanding the struggles of families with young children,” said Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Women United chair. “The pandemic intensified so many challenges – especially for parents of color – making the need for policies and programs that create more equitable access to child care greater than ever.”
Throughout the pandemic, LPIC has compiled multiple reports with findings on the adverse impacts COVID-19 has had on child care providers, the financial challenges of child care facing Louisiana’s working families and the necessity to get families back to work in order to restart the state’s economy. The complete findings from “Struggling to Recover: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children” can be found here. The statewide survey of parents and guardians of children under age five was conducted from September 21, 2020, through October 6, 2020. Questions ranged from asking about child care arrangements before and since the pandemic’s onset, personal child care expenses, comfort level in sending children to child care in light of the public health crisis, family work schedules and more. LPIC plans to hold another virtual press conference to present additional findings on the ongoing adverse impacts of COVID-19 on child care providers in Louisiana in the coming months. For more information on LPIC, please visit, PolicyInstituteLA.org.