News and Events



Early Childhood Legislative Update

Louisiana School Readiness Tax Credits:
Louisiana's unique and effective School Readiness Tax Credits (SRTC) program have received national acclaim and have been extremely effective in supporting access to high quality child care in Louisiana. There were 5 bills this session that threatened their effectiveness, or threatened to reduce them or to eliminate them altogether. Not only were all these efforts stopped, but through the leadership of Senator JP Morrell, an additional $5 million was allocated to them—a 30% increase. Now the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will need to pass rules to spend these additional funds. See SR 209 and HR 217,
 
Fiscal Year 2018 Budget:
Pre-K Programs did take a generally 2% cut, as did many other programs across the board. It is hoped that any loss of slots will be made up in the expansion next year of the federal Pre-K Expansion Grant that will increase by 440 slots in the 2017-18 school year. It should be noted, however, that this federal grant will end after the 2018-19 school year. One big disappointment this year--there was no restoration of funding for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which has been cut by over $65 million in the last 8 years, an almost 70% reduction. It is because of these cuts that the Louisiana Department of Education will have to close the CCAP program to new children and begin a waiting list starting July 1 (see their press release).
 
Other Bills Affecting Early Care and Education in the Regular Legislative Session
HB 486 (Johnson): Establishes an administrative process for the appeal of a justified determination of child abuse or neglect for an individual whose name is placed on the state central registry for child abuse or neglect. Given that federal law requires that by fall 2018 owners, employees etc. in child care centers, registered family child care providers and in-home providers must pass a state central registry background check, this legislation provides a mechanism for the approximately 200,000 people currently on the registry, and those going forward, to have a more efficient means of due process to contest their placement on the registry. The bill also provides that the Department of Children and Family Services can charge a fee up to $25 for state central registry checks. Status: Passed the Legislature and sent to the Governor for his signature.
 
HB 541 (Carter): Provides for using savings as a result of early high school graduation to fund scholarships for such students and for administration of the Child Care Assistance Program. Status: Stalled in Senate Finance.
 
HB 557 (Seabaugh): Given that federal law requires that by fall 2018 owners, employees, etc. in child care centers, registered family child care providers and in-home providers must pass more in-depth and extensive background checks, this bill sets up the state infrastructure and requirements for Louisiana to comply with federal law. It also provides for the Department of Education to be able to charge a fee up to $15 to process these background checks. Status: Passed the Legislature and sent to the Governor for his signature.
 
HB 584 (Leger): Creates the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund and provides for a 1:2 state match for funding by local entities for certain childhood education programs. Although no funding was appropriated for this new fund, the bill does provide a structure that hopefully will be funded in future years. Status: Passed the Legislature and sent to the Governor for his signature.
 
Melanie Bronfin, J.D.
Executive Director
Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
504-417-3735
mmbronfin@policyinstitutela.org
www.policyinstitutela.org

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