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Policy Institute Receives Statewide, Bipartisan Support as Inaugural Early Ed Month 2022 Wraps

Policy Institute Receives Statewide, Bipartisan Support as Inaugural Early Ed Month 2022 Wraps

NEW ORLEANS (March 3, 2022) – Last month, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) celebrated the inaugural Early Ed Month 2022 and hosted a full program of events to educate local and national policymakers, business leaders, parents and advocates on the critical need for high-quality early care and education in Louisiana. 

Early Ed Month 2022 was the fifth annual celebration of early care and education in Louisiana hosted by LPIC, a nonprofit working to ensure all Louisiana’s young children are ready for success in school and life; however, this year marked the first month-long celebration hosted by the organization. In total, over 400 people participated throughout Early Ed Month 2022 – both virtually and in-person – the highest level of participation seen by LPIC to date. 

“We are rejuvenated by the success of Early Ed Month 2022,” said Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of LPIC. “We’re eager to leverage this momentum going into the upcoming legislative session to ensure that Louisiana takes advantage of all opportunities to invest in expanding access to quality early care and education, increasing state investment and creating opportunities for local governments to invest in early care and education.”

Spanning the month, LPIC hosted virtual four virtual events beginning with a keynote address by education expert Dr. Junlei Li, from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Early Ed Month also featured a business breakfast briefing where LPIC shared a preview of the Business Workforce Impact Calculator tool to help businesses understand the cost of child care instability. 

Held in partnership with Louisiana Association of United Ways, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Capital Area United Way, United Way of Southwest Louisiana, United Way of Northeast Louisiana, United Way of Acadiana, LPIC co-hosted regional events across the state in Southeast Louisiana, the Capitol Region, Southwest Louisiana, Northeast Louisiana and Acadiana to bring further awareness to ways families and child care providers are disproportionately impacted by region and parish. Finally, LPIC encouraged supporters to engage in a social media day of action to raise awareness and advocate for continued investments in early care and education.

“Every Louisiana family has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly all were affected by devastating natural disasters. The pathway for our state’s equitable recovery is paved by prioritizing investments in children, their working parents and proven approaches to strengthen our economy,” said Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways. “Steady investments in early care and education will create forward momentum. Our policymakers can clear the way by prioritizing funding towards this end.”

Charmaine Caccioppi, executive vice president and CEO at the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, is optimistic about early care and education during the upcoming 2022 legislative session. “Louisiana’s ALICE reports show that child care is often the most expensive item in a family’s budget. We are excited about the governor’s historic budget proposal which allocates nearly $94 million in investments towards early care and education.” 

Governor John Bel Edwards proclaimed February as Early Education Month in Louisiana and has named early childhood education as one of his top priorities during his second term. 

“Despite the difficult challenges facing our state, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from devastating hurricanes, we’ve learned how important early care and education is for our students and their families,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “By working together, we can help ensure that every child has access to quality early care and education.”

LPIC’s work is not limited to Early Ed Month, and in fact, recently released two historic reports on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on child care providers and parents that will help shape local and national funding decisions. Additionally, in partnership with Agenda for Children, LPIC raised a historic $500,000 to support child care providers in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

To learn more about early childcare and education in Louisiana, please visit PolicyInstituteLA.com. Early Ed Month 2022 was sponsored by Entergy. Additional sponsors include Jones Walker LLP, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Clara’s Little Lambs Preschool Academy, Agenda for Children, Committee of 100 Louisiana, Cox, Save the Children Action Network, Stand for Children Louisiana, Resourceful Consulting, Gambel Communications and Baptist Community Ministries.

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About Louisiana Policy Institute for Children: Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that Louisiana’s young children, from birth to age four, are best prepared for success in school and in life. The Policy Institute develops policy proposals informed by data, research, best practices and the experiences of other states to improve the outcomes of Louisiana’s youngest citizens, and further provides educational and outreach activities based on recommended policy solutions. The organization works to ensure children are safe, healthy and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. For more information, visit www.policyinstitutela.org and follow the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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