Policy Institute Releases Results of Annual Child Care Parent Poll

NEW ORLEANS (press release) — On Feb. 14, The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children hosted a press conference releasing the results from the “Louisiana Child Care Parent Poll,” which surveyed Louisiana parents with children under five to better understand these families’ child care arrangements, particularly in regard to their child care needs and experiences. LPIC conducted the survey in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Women United and Agenda for Children. The press conference was moderated by Dr. Anna Mahoney, chair of UWSELA’s Women United, and included four parent panelists from East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, LaSalle and Ouachita parishes.

This year’s survey results provide insights into the continued needs and challenges of families with young children in Louisiana.

  • Year-over-year, Louisiana families with young children rely on child care to support parent employment and education.
  • Child care costs continue to rise, especially for families paying the entire cost of care.
  • Working families benefit from increased supports, and any reductions will have a greater impact on those who are struggling the most.
  • Child care challenges persist for working families.

“Understanding the challenges facing Louisiana families is crucial as we approach the 2023 legislative session,” says Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “Parents of young children continue to rely on child care to go to work or school, and the high cost of that child care continues to be a serious challenge.”

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High-quality early care and education benefits everyone in Louisiana. Children will be better prepared for success in school and life. Working parents and caregivers can maintain workforce participation and employers will have a dependable workforce with minimal interruptions. Communities throughout the state will benefit from robust employment rates, economic growth, and tax revenues. For the state to maintain its momentum, Louisiana must:

  • Continue state investments in early care and education to increase access to high-quality child care, especially for children birth through age 3, including funding for programs that received one-time federal stopgap investments.
  • Encourage local governments to generate revenue for early care and education through continued state investment in the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.
  • Support continued professionalization of the early care and education workforce compensation and training strategies implemented by the Louisiana Department of Education and Louisiana Workforce Commission.
  • Encourage increased federal investments in early care and education to support increased access to affordable child care for working families.

Early care and education providers struggled with many of the same staffing challenges as other industries. Together, these compounded many families’ difficulties when trying to find affordable, high-quality child care. The impending fiscal cliff from the expiring one-time federal funding threatens to leave tens of thousands of young children without care while their parents work or attend school. And this is on top of the hundreds of thousands of other children in the state who currently lack access to affordable, high-quality child care.

“Women United understands the importance of using the best data possible to show where hardships exist and what structural changes are necessary to increase stability among ALICE households. The Parent Poll confirmed once again that our state is in crisis. If we don’t take immediate action to increase ECE funding in Louisiana, our most vulnerable children and families will miss out on high-quality care, creating short- and long-term consequences for ALICE and us all,” says Dr. Anna Mahoney, Chair, United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Women United.

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Almost half of parents surveyed were concerned about being unable to afford child care.

  • Parents with family incomes between $35,000 and $100,000 per year were more likely to be concerned about their inability to afford child care.
  • Over 50% of parents indicated having trouble paying for basic household expenses, including utilities, child care, food, and clothing, in the prior six months.
  • Parents in northeast Louisiana and those with family incomes below $50,000 per year were more likely to have had trouble paying for basic household expenses.
  • Nearly half of parents claimed or planned to claim School Readiness Tax Credits for Child Care Expenses on their 2021 Louisiana tax return.

The complete findings from “Maintain the Momentum: The Role of Child Care Investments in Supporting Working Families” can be found here. The survey was conducted from October 19, 2022, through November 2, 2022. Questions ranged from asking about child care arrangements in the past several months, ease of finding child care, personal child care expenses, family work schedules, and more. Responses were sought from all parents of young children in Louisiana, including parents who provide care themselves or who rely on extended family, friends, and neighbors for care, as well as families who rely on formal child care programs and settings, including preschool and Head Start. This year’s survey was available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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