Statement from Ready Louisiana Coalition on Historic Investment in Child Care Assistance

Published 10:59 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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BATON ROUGE, LA (June 30, 2023) – On Thursday, June 29, 2023, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a series of line-item vetoes for HB 1, the state’s budget. Among other items, Gov. Edwards’ actions resulted in the restoration of an additional $7.5 million for early care and education. In combination with the $44 million already allocated by lawmakers in the final hours of the 2023 legislative session, this brings the total new funding to early care and education to $51.67 million. This represents the largest state investment into the Child Care Assistance Program in over a decade and will save more than an estimated 4,000 child care seats of the 16,000 seats being lost statewide.

With child care often representing the largest portion of a family’s budget and child care breakdowns costing Louisiana businesses over $760 million every year, this truly represents an investment in children, families and businesses. The Ready Louisiana Coalition applauds the Governor for his actions.

“We want to thank Gov. Edwards for his wisdom in utilizing his veto authority this way,” said Mary Leach Werner, vice president and director of Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company and the board president of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “Every single dollar matters when it comes to ensuring that children have access to quality care and parents are able to go to work.”

“Bringing the allocation to the Child Care Assistance Program back to the $52 million originally in HB 1 will help hundreds of additional families across the state,” said Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “We were so grateful for the $44 million that was put into the budget on the final day of session, and this will help save even more of the seats that were being lost due to expiring federal funds.”

“Gov. Edwards has long been a champion for young children, and we appreciate this action in the last year of his final term,” said Charmaine Caccioppi, chief operating officer of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana. “We have more to do in the future to ensure all children and families have the tools they need to thrive, but this is an incredible ending to the 2023 fiscal session.”