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Ian Macdonald

Investing in our children is investing in our economy

Louisiana needs immediate and robust investments in quality early child care and education. I could go on for days about the reasons why — from preparing our children to be successful in school and ultimately in life, to simply being the right thing to do. But it is one of the lesser discussed, and not immediately obvious, reasons that I want to focus on today: our economy.
Lack of access to affordable, quality early care and education has a profoundly negative impact on worker productivity and participation in Louisiana. In fact, the instability created from a lack of early child care costs employers in our state $816 million annually, costs the state economy $1.1 billion, and results in a tax revenue loss of almost $84 million. Those numbers are staggering, but preventable.
According to a recent report released by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, “Losing Ground – How Child Care Impacts Louisiana’s Workforce Productivity and the State Economy,” the losses to our state’s employers stem from absences from the workplace, resignations, and employee turnover. Two-thirds of all children in Louisiana between birth and age 5 have either both of their parents, or their single parent, in the workforce. Yet, access to quality and affordable early child care and education is severely lacking and inconsistent across the state.
As a result, parents are often forced to make career sacrifices to stay home and care for their children. In fact, Louisiana’s child care issues result in 40.8% of parents of young children missing work on one or more days in a three-month span, 13.8% turning down a promotion, 18.5% transitioning from full-time to part-time, and 16% quitting their full-time job all together.
These astounding numbers could be greatly reduced by investing in early child care and education programs where our children can grow and learn in a safe space, allowing their families to prosper and helping our businesses thrive. Let’s start by restoring the 23,000 child care slots that were cut from the Child Care Assistance Program. Let’s start by making sure our youngest children are our priority. By investing in quality early child care and education in
Louisiana, we are investing in our economy.
This February 7-14 is Early Ed Week in Louisiana, a week-long series of events across the state highlighting the importance of improving access to affordable, high quality early child care and education for all Louisiana’s parents. I’m joining with the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Louisiana Association of United Ways, United Way of Acadiana, One Acadiana, United Way of Acadiana’s Women United and United Way of Iberia to advocate for increased, stable funding and a reliable funding mechanism to help Louisiana’s working families afford early child care and education for their children. To live better, we must live united.
Ian Macdonald
Jones Walker LLP

Eunice Today

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