The New World of Early Learning in Louisiana

Early Childhood Education Funding


Louisiana has many different early childhood care and education programs. None of the state administered programs are funded at the cost it takes to provide them. 


LA 4  

  • The largest of the state’s pre-k 4 year old programs, LA 4, is funded at $4580 per child for the 2018-19 school year.  This is in contrast to the average state MFP District allocation of over $8000 per student for kindergarten and the other grades.   

  • LA 4 is not part of the state’s school funding formula (called the Minimum Foundation Program or MFP).    

  • LA4 is funded by State General Funds and the federal TANF federal block grant, [3]   

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
  • As underfunded as the pre-k programs for 4 year olds in the schools are in the state, the underfunding of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) is even more dramatic.

  • According to the 2016 Louisiana Market Rate Survey, the cost of child care in the state is $7590 per child per year.  (This figure is for ALL centers, and not necessarily high quality ones.) By contrast, cost modeling of high quality centers has shown that the actual costs range from $11,071 per child for infants to $8887 for 4 year olds.  Yet, the CCAP reimbursement rate is only 5850 for infants and toddlers and 5590 for 3 and 4 year olds.  

The number of children served by the Child Care Assistance Program has been cut from serving almost 40,000 in 2008 to under 20,000 in 2018.  CCAP in Louisiana is completely funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund block grant. Although in the past the state allocated both substantial amounts of State General Funds and TANF block grant funds to the CCAP program, now none of these funds are used for CCAP. 


Act 3 seeks to have all the early care and education programs in Louisiana judged by the same standards.  However, it did not align the great disparity in funding across the programs, or raise the allocation per child so that the programs can meet the high standards being set under the new system.


Additional Resources:

Early Childhood System Integration Budget For FY 2018-2019 as Appropriated 


2017 Louisiana Child Care Market Rate Survey: 

Modeling Quality Child Care Center Costs and Revenues in Louisiana

Policy Brief

December 2018 (Updated with new CCAP rates  August 2019)

Prioritizing Our Future: How cities and states dedicate funds for early care and education


One Pager

January 2019