BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Education announced changes that will help more working families with children qualify for childcare assistance.
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides federal funds to help low-income working families pay for childcare, and the changes that were approved at Tuesday’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting will allow more Louisiana families to afford and qualify for child care assistance.
Effective February 1, 2021:
- CCAP daily reimbursement rates will be increased to reflect the state’s current market rates for child-care, which will significantly reduce out-of-pocket cost for working families, as well as give them more choices.
- Income eligibility will be increased to 65 percent of the State Median Income (SMI) in order to match up with other child-care programs, which will allow families to earn more money and still qualify for childcare help (CCAP).
- Providers will be reimbursed at the state’s newly established daily reimbursement rate, regardless of their own rates, which will help pay for the true cost of quality childcare.
“To reach our goal of ensuring all students are ready for kindergarten, it’s vital that we increase access to high-quality childcare for Louisiana’s most vulnerable children,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. This shift puts higher quality programs within the reach of families who need them.”
Historically, families receiving childcare assistance have been limited in their options by what they can afford with the help of childcare assistance. While current CCAP reimbursement rates provide access to approximately one in four centers. The rate increase will allow CCAP-eligible families to choose between three in every four centers.
This change will help ensure that more low-income families who are working, in school or actively seeking work an access high-quality childcare for their children. This will expand options for families who couldn’t afford the gap between what a provider charged and what the state pays, as well as and open the door to families who before couldn’t afford childcare.
The income eligibility for CCAP is being increased to approximately 200% of the federal poverty level or $43,440 for a family of three. Along with making childcare affordable for more families, this change also better aligns CCAP’s income eligibility with other early childhood programs like LA 4.
The policy changes are part of a broader effort by the Department — in collaboration with BESE, child care providers, advocates and families — to unify the system of early childhood education and to prepare all children for kindergarten by increasing access to and affordability of child care statewide.