LAFAYETTE, LA (February14,2020) —This morning, legislators and business leaders from across the region joined the United Way of Acadiana, Women United, One Acadiana, and United Way of Iberia at an event at Gethsemane La Petite Early Childhood Development Center in recognition of the third annual “Louisiana Early Ed Week” sponsored by Entergy Corporation.
Held in partnership between the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) and the Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW), along with generous support from Entergy Corporation and Jones Walker LLP, Louisiana Early Ed Week is an opportunity to further educate local policy makers and business leaders on the critical and ongoing need to increase and improve access to quality early care and education for children, birth through age four, throughout the state.
Today’s event was one of seven being held across Louisiana between February 7-14, during which local leaders gather at Type III Child Care Centers to see firsthand what quality early care and education looks like, and to gain a greater understanding about the importance of providing access to these centers and education offerings for the state’s youngest children.
“The importance of early education cannot be overstated. What happens in a child’s life in their first years is the foundation for their future. A strong start is imperative.”, said United Way of Acadiana’s Interim President/CEO Troy Cloutier.
Following brief introductory remarks, today’s attendees were given a tour of Gethsemane LaPetite Early Childhood Development Center from Mae Winbush. The highlight,however, came after the tour when the legislators and business leaders in attendance had the opportunity to interact with and read to the children.
We are heartened by recent wins for early child care and education across Louisiana, however more can–and must-be done,” said Libbie Sonnier-Netto, Ph.D., executive director of LPIC. “While nearly 90% of four-year-olds in Louisiana can access a free quality Pre-K slot, quality early care and education is underfunded and out of reach for most low-income, working families with infants and toddlers. We need to continue to invest in this issue in order to close the gap and ensure that all children under four in our state have access to quality early care and education.”“We are so appreciative that all of these area leaders took time out of their busy schedules to come and visit our center and interact with our children as a part of the Louisiana Early Ed Week,” said Mae Winbush.
“United Ways throughout Louisiana work to ensure all children reach their full potential and access to high quality childcare provides a strong start while supporting parents in the workforce.”said Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways.“Louisiana families work hard to ensure adequate income and a better future for their children. Louisiana ALICE households unable to earn enough to meet a basic household budget represents 45% of homes led by parent workers with children. Workers with young children make hard choices regularly between quality childcare and other basics like food for the table. Louisiana’s investments to increase funding and access helps our children and working parents reach their potential.”
To learn more about early child care and education in Louisiana, please visit PolicyInstituteLA.com. Additionally, you can join in the conversation by using #LAEarlyEdWeek on social media channels.