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Program changes enable more working families to afford and qualify for child care assistance

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 10:44 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Louisiana Department of Education announced changes to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which provides federal funds to help low-income working families pay for child care.

The changes will enable more Louisiana families to afford and qualify for child care assistance.

“To reach our goal of ensuring all students are ready for kindergarten, it’s vital that we increase access to high-quality child care for Louisiana’s most vulnerable children,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “This shift puts higher quality programs within the reach of families who need them.”

CCAP daily reimbursement rates will be increased to reflect the state’s current market rates for child care, which will significantly reduce out of pocket cost for working families.

Income eligibility will be increased to 65% of the State Median Income (SMI) in order to align with other child care programs, allowing families to make more income and still qualify for child care subsidy

Dr. Brumley said this will expand options for people who couldn’t previously afford the gap between what a provider charged and what the state pays.

“So much of the child’s brain is developed before they even get to kindergarten. Right now in some of our communities, 90% of the children are coming to school not kindergarten ready, and across the state only about 50% of our kids come to school kindergarten ready,” Brumley said.

Historically, families receiving child care assistance have been limited in their options by what they can afford with the help of child care assistance.

The program’s current rates provide access to approximately one in four centers. The rate increase will allow eligible families to choose between three in every four centers.

“Thankfully our state board of education approved the shift, and because of that families are going to have greater access to higher quality centers across the state,” Brumley said.

The new changes will take effect Feb. 1, 2021.

To learn more about CCAP and how to apply, families can visit louisianabelieves.com, email LDEccap@la.gov or call 1-877-453-2721.

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