BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children has released findings from its fifth survey on the state of early care and education in Louisiana over the course of the pandemic.
While enrollment rates increased and financial losses decreased, childcare providers are not yet restored to pre-pandemic levels leaving too many families without quality care and education for their children.
“When analyzing the data we can see that covid-19 continues to impact the providers and in 2021 only 1 out of every 3 providers reported not having to temporarily close classrooms. As I speak to you this morning, I’ve closed two classes today before I got on this phone call,” said Tessa Holloway, founder and owner of Kidz Karousel Learning Center.
The survey also found that providers are still facing operational issues that were not seen earlier in the pandemic such as staffing challenges.
“64% experiencing employee absences, 55% hiring or trying to hire additional staff and 51% facing increased staffing costs,” said Elizabeth Andry, director of Southside Child Development Center.
According to the Louisiana Policy Insitute for Children, wages for childcare workers in Louisiana average $9.77 per hour. That is lower than the national average of $12.27. While the financial strain of the pandemic is easing, providers say that more federal and state funding is key to a full recovery.