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Infant-Toddler Child Care Increases Louisiana's Success
High-quality child care can help grow the economy, increase public safety, and enhance national security
Investments in high-quality child care help strengthen our current and future workforce, contribute to building a strong economy, and can enhance both national security and public safety. Despite these numerous benefits, Louisiana lacks an adequate supply of child care that is affordable, accessible, and developmentally beneficial for all children who need it–particularly infants and toddlers. Nationally, the infant-toddler child care crisis costs $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue for parents, employers, and taxpayers alike.
Louisiana’s families and children rely upon high-quality child care to support parents’ employment and provide children with a nurturing, stimulating environment for healthy brain development during the first years of their lives. At the same time, child care can bolster both our national security and public safety. Our national security relies on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, health issues, and behavior problems (such as substance abuse and crime) currently prevent 75 percent of Louisiana youth from qualifying for service. Early brain development sets the stage for children’s future academic success. Without improvements to the child care system, our state risks having an even smaller recruiting pool in the future.
Louisiana also has the second highest incarceration rate in the country. This could be reduced by providing at-risk children with high-quality early learning opportunities that can help reduce the costs of crime in the future, both to the state and to the individuals involved.
Louisiana lawmakers must continue to support programs that increase the availability of quality child care, especially for infants and toddlers, and raise the state’s reimbursement rates to ensure more Louisiana families are able to afford the child care they need. Action and innovation now can improve the lives of Louisiana’s children today and strengthen the state in the years to come.