Two Hot Early Week Issues For Louisiana's Youth!!

We have two really hot, really important issues to deal with first thing this week!

Issue #1: Tell your Louisiana legislators that kids don’t belong in jail

Across this state, 80% of children who are locked up in juvenile detention centers are charged with a non-violent offense. These children are unnecessarily exposed to the dangers of incarceration: abuse, trauma, and even suicide. Just this February, two children – Solan and Jordan – took their own lives in one of Louisiana’s juvenile jails.

The best way to prevent tragedies like these from happening is to keep children out of jail in the first place. HB 158 will help reduce the use of detention by requiring jurisdictions to use objective criteria when deciding whether to jail a child. It will encourage the use of alternatives that are less expensive, less traumatic, and more effective at keeping kids out of trouble.

This bill is scheduled to be heard by committee tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th. Please join us in telling our lawmakers to vote YES on HB 158. Please take a moment to tell committee members that kids don't belong in cages! It’s quick and easy to send letters with this link!

Issue #2 - Help Secure Funding For the Child Care Assistance Program

The Governor has proposed $8.76 million for early care and education, but we need an additional $31 million to cover the remaining 5,100 children who are authorized and/or on the current Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) waitlist but can’t receive services. (For more on understanding the numbers, see below.)

To legislators, silence means everything is fine. They need to hear from you that not restoring CCAP finding is NOT OKAY!

Please take these action steps TODAY

1. CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE (See the full list here)

  • Call their local offices and leave a message.

  • See below for the list of members of the Committee and suggested talking points.

2. Have your Colleagues, Family, Teachers and Parents call.

Please feel free to contact Melanie Bronfin at 504-228-0988 or mmbronfin@policyinstitutela.org for more information or for assistance with talking points.

Understanding the Numbers

The Governor’s proposal is $8.76 million, which would cover:

  • Raising rates for current children in the Child Care Assistance Program to respond to the federal corrective action that is threatening the current 15,000 slots in the federal block grant.  

  • Replacing the federal grant funding that is ending for 800 Pre-K slots for 4-year olds.

  • Serving only 400 of the 5,500 children who are authorized and/or on the current CCAP waitlist awaiting services

We need an additional $31 million to cover:

  • The remaining 5,100 children who are authorized and/or on the current CCAP waitlist awaiting services.

One Call To Make:

If you don't know who your state representative is, it takes about half a minute to find out. Click on this link to FindMyLegislators.  Enter your address and click on the Find button. The application will present a link containing your House District and the name of your representative. Click on the link and the application will present your representative’s page including their phone number, email address, fax number, and more. You can also review the full text of the Action Alert here, which includes the list of the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee.

Talking Points For Calls to Legislators

  • Say who you are. 

  • If the legislator represents your parish (see list below), note that he/she represents you (and your teachers and parents if that is the case). 

  • I am calling today to ask Representative YY to appropriate $40 million for early care and education, and specifically for the Child Care Assistance Program, which is desperately needed TODAY. 

  • In Louisiana, two-thirds of children birth through age five have both parents, or their single parent, in the workforce.  

  • Child care costs almost as much as a public college tuition, over $7,000/year in Louisiana. Even at that cost, child care teachers earn half of what Kindergarten teachers earn in Louisiana. 

  • Yet, we have cut the Child Care Assistance Program from serving almost 40,000 children ten years ago to 15,000 children today.

  • The Governor has said he will add $8.76 million to the proposed budget.

  • This will fund only 400 of the 5,500 children who are current unfunded or on the waitlist. We need an additional $31 million THIS YEAR so these families can access quality care and be productive workers.

  • Businesses are affected. Child care breakdowns have a substantial impact on workforce productivity. Child care issues cost Louisiana employers $816 million a year and result in a $1.1 billion loss annually for Louisiana’s economy. 

  • According to a recent poll, likely Louisiana voters strongly favor increasing state funding for quality child care to benefit working families, including over 50% of likely voters in each region of the state, and 50% of conservatives, 70% of moderates and 86% of liberals.  

  • In fact, a majority of likely voters said they would vote to re-elect their state legislator if they voted to increase funding for child care.  

  • The Governor’s proposed $8.76 million would cover only 400 of the 5,500 children who are authorized and/or on the current CCAP waitlist awaiting services. 

  • We need an additional $31 million to cover the remaining 5,100 children who are authorized and/or on the current CCAP waitlist awaiting services.

  • Thank you!