BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — It’s a big day for nearly 40 million families across the country. The expanded Child Tax Credit is helping families with everyday costs such as child care.

Child care was a necessity for many people during the pandemic, but this need may become greater with unemployment on the way out soon.

The Learning Center Co-owner Lynn Carmouche said, “I’m getting calls all day long asking for child care and I have to put them on a waiting list.”

People getting back to work plus school opening soon helped drive this surge.  

“Which is a good sign though, that we’re getting back to some kind of normalcy,” said Carmouche. 

This transition won’t be easy for some. Housing Louisiana reported that full-time local workers would need to earn almost $20 an hour just for rent, let alone the added costs of child care. 

Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier said, “But we have to be able to take care of our citizens and they need to be able to afford to live so that our economy can thrive.”

With unemployment ending, LPIC says help is now available to more people.

Dr. Sonnier said, “In Louisiana, we just updated our regulations to say people who are searching for work can qualify for child care assistance.”

As the need for child care increases, so does the need for workers. 

Carmouche said, “We’re looking for more qualified staff than before.”

“We lose about 40% of child care teachers, we know that,” Sonnier added.

That’s why the state government stepped in to assist. 

Carmouche said, “It helps us maintain staff, new signing bonuses, providing incentives for furthering your education.”

As the economy improves and staffing gets better these facilities are looking to expand and get back to pre-pandemic capacity. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children said over 90% of child care facilities are back open, but child care assistance is still a struggle for many Louisiana parents who are getting back to work.