Louisiana to establish wait list for Child Care Assistance Program starting July 1st
As the result of anticipated overwhelming demand from working parents and a shortage of funds, the Louisiana Department of Education today announced a wait list will be established for eligible families who apply to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) on and after July 1, 2017. To secure a slot now, eligible families must apply by June 30.
CCAP is a federally-funded program that enables Louisiana parents to work or attend school by helping them to afford child care. Since 2012, the Department, in collaboration with the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), early childhood providers, advocates and families, has unified the system of early childhood education to prepare all children for kindergarten. Louisiana uses unified standards for all children birth to age five, sets high expectations for classroom care and instruction, and supports all teachers, especially those in child care, to earn credentials.
Prior to changes enacted by the Legislature, BESE, and the Department, child care rosters in Louisiana had plummeted from 25,000 children to 11,000 children. In contrast, nearly 20,000 children participate in Head Start, and more than 31,000 children participate in publicly funded pre-K. BESE reduced the burden placed on working families to pay child care fees out of pocket, created sensible work requirements for working families, and installed parishwide enrollment systems in every parish in the state. At the same time, the Louisiana economy continued to grow, with recent reports indicating significant gains in jobs and lower unemployment rates. As a result, child care now serves 18,000 children, with increasing interest on a daily basis. This interest now exceeds the amount of funding for child care in the state budget.
The recently released Kids Count report indicated preschool attendance continues to be a bright spot for Louisiana, which ranks seventh in the nation for the percentage of 3- and 4-year old students attending school.
"As part of the Early Childhood Networks launched in 2012, Louisiana child care programs have embraced high standards and true accountability. They are providing a truly educational experience for young children and preparing them for our schools," said State Superintendent John White. "Unfortunately, child care for working families remains a small priority in our state budget. As a result, families will now have to either not go to work or find a non-education setting for their children."
From now through June 30, 2017, applications will be processed as normal. Complete applications received by 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2017 will be processed, and if eligible, families will be able to participate in CCAP. As of July 1, 2017, families will be notified of the wait list via the Louisiana Believes website when applying online or on paper.
Households will only be placed on the wait list once they submit a complete application and are determined eligible. The wait list will be statewide, and applications will be prioritized by the date received by the Department.
If and when funding becomes available, the waitlisted households will be notified by phone, mail and email. Eligible households may be placed on the wait list for up to one year. After one year of being on the wait list, families will need to reapply. Households will be provided notice 30 days in advance of being purged and will be directed to reapply if they still need assistance.
Exceptions to the wait list apply for families currently receiving child care assistance, children who are experiencing homelessness, children of families participating in STEP or Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships, children in foster care, or children requiring special needs care. The aforementioned, if also income eligible, will be eligible and will not be placed on the wait list at any point.
The Department will work closely with all partners to ensure families are supported during this time of transition. Together, these entities will help families identify alternative options, if available, and communicate any and all updates related to the wait list.
Updated information will be published on the Department's website. Information provided on the site will include information for families, Frequently Asked Questions, and an overview of the number of households, per parish and statewide, active on the wait list. For additional information, please contact email@example.com.