LOUISIANA (KLFY) – A couple of daycare owners are sharing their thoughts with News 10 after learning nearly half of the families they serve will be losing state funded financial support.
Beyonka Heine, Owner of Devine Treasures Development Center, said, “I’m just concerned that Louisiana as a state, we’re supposed to be closing the gap, but we’re broadening the gap. The kids were coming and getting quality childcare and now they’re going to have nowhere to go.”
Of the 74 kids in her care, 45 of them rely on financial assistance from the Louisiana Ready Start Network.
Gloria Williams, Owner of Precious Hearts Childcare in Lafayette told us about half of the families she serves were breathing easier because of the Ready Start Network.
“You would have to see the ease in the parents’ face. You would have to hear the stories and you you have to see that is was helping. It was actually making a difference,” Williams said.
On March 6, about 280 families at 17 early learning centers across Lafayette participating in the program received a letter, letting them know about their eligibility coming to an end.
Emmy Thibodeaux, Network Supervisor at LPSS – Lafayette Ready Start, said, “As you know those fundings come to an end. So, the federal grant as well as the covid stimulus dollars both ended, in a sense, at the same time. As of June 30th there’s no funding source that’s able to fund these seats that have been created.”
And now people using Ready Start money are being pushed to apply for CCAP — the Childcare Assistance Program. But, there is a 60-90 day waitlist.
“We are hoping that in the time that we have left of the funding that parents diligently apply, and that by the time they would be needing the financial that that program would opt into offering them a seat off the waiting list,” Thibodeaux said.
One thing that worries both Gloria and Beyonka are what they describe as operational issues within CCAP. Williams said CCAP is a good program when it’s functioning. But limited funding and staff shortages have done the families in need a disservice.
If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.