Today, the Louisiana Department of Education unveiled a new interactive website called Louisiana School Finder. It contains performance ratings for public schools and licensed early learning centers (commonly referred to as daycare centers). The early learning centers in the state of Louisiana who are included on the newly launched Louisiana School Finder website are to be commended for participating in the Louisiana Department of Education Type III licensure category. There are many high-quality Type I (church-based) and Type II early learning centers providing early care and education to infants and toddlers, including 3 and 4-year-old children. Early learning centers who participate in Type III are centers who accept families who qualify for Child Care Assistance.
“We are very proud of the members of the Childcare Association of Louisiana, who are working extremely hard to ensure that quality early childhood education is accessible for ALL children at all ages,” said Jonathan Pearce, President of the Childcare Association of Louisiana. “CCAL also believes strongly that children should be cared for and educated in developmentally appropriate settings”.
The real action is on the Top Gains Honor Roll where childcare centers across the state improved their performance ratings with very little to no additional funds from the state of Louisiana. Early learning centers are highly regulated by a multitude of state agencies, to ensure that children are taken care of and educated in developmentally appropriate settings. These regulatory requirements are from the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
“Act 3 which required licensed early learning centers who accept public subsidies that help working families – a minimum 30 hour requirement to be enrolled in school or working, is an unfunded mandate on Type III childcare providers to meet stringent accountability standards set forth by the Louisiana Department of Education”, said Alan Young, legislative chairman of the Childcare Association of Louisiana. However, licensed child care centers across the state have stepped up to the plate to ensure that children who are in their care are being adequately prepared for kindergarten.
The premise of Act 3 was to level the playing field and equalize the funding streams for all children and their families who receive public funds for early childhood education. This included the LA4 program, head start programs, the NSECD program and childcare centers that accept families who qualify for the federally funded Child Care Assistance subsidy.
The Childcare Association of Louisiana is a statewide, nonprofit organization that represents the needs of the childcare profession and the children and their families that they serve.