Seizing the Opportunity to Improve Access to Child Care Subsidy in Louisiana
Louisiana’s Child Care Assistance Program had one of the highest work requirements for parents to receive a child care subsidy in the nation. At 30 hours per week, the state had few working parents who qualified and, as a result, child care subsidies went unused each year.
Recognizing this barrier, the Louisiana Department of Education recommended reducing the requirement to 25 hours/week. That’s when Melanie Bronfin, Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, seized the opportunity. With the help of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Bronfin successfully made the case for reducing the requirement to 20 hours per week.
When Bronfin learned about Department’s recommendation, she made a Rapid Response request to CLASP to learn how Louisiana compared to other states on the work requirement. CLASP responded with a report (see table 2) that showed Louisiana would still be in the bottom seven states with a work requirement set at 25 hours/week. As a member of Louisiana’s Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council, Bronfin used the research and successfully made the case for 20 hours per week. Now, any parent working a minimum of 20 hours per week can qualify for a subsidy to pay for child care while the parent works.
“This win was a direct result of assistance I received from CLASP. I’ve been a two-woman shop, fighting huge battles down here. Through the Alliance Rapid Response and TA, I’m able to do so much more. They give us much more capacity,” Bronfin said. “Having access to incredible experts in so many different ways has made a huge difference for us. What a missed opportunity if states aren’t taking advantage of the Rapid Response support the Alliance partners offer.”
“We’ve been much more effective since we have access to all this expertise.”