BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Sixty percent of kids in Louisiana are not ready for kindergarten because they didn’t have access to early childhood education. But new state laws are putting up 84 million dollars to help.

Early childhood professionals said early education is essential for the future of the child and the state.

“For parents to be able to take care of their children, they have to be able to go to work. And for them to be able to go to work, they have to have access to quality, early care, and education,” said Libbie Sonnier, the executive director for the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children.

The state is spending 84 million in new dollars on early childhood education. Forty-four million dollars will go toward expanding the Child Care Assistance Program and lowering the costs of other programs. Another 27 million dollars will go toward bringing back programs that offer families mental health and specialized care for children.

“What allows our early care and education child care centers to do is really be able to accept more publicly funded children,” said Sonnier.

But what will this look like for the Capital Region?

“Providing them with all of them, the information in then for the parents to select the best option that will work for them to get their child in a high-quality education as early as possible,” said Shenoa Warren, executive director for early childhood in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Warren said it’s so important to invest in kids as young as six weeks old.

“That once they get to third grade with those necessary literacy skills, they will have a better chance to graduate from high school on time. their graduation from high school on time. More than likely they can go on and be productive citizens,” she said.

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children said although 84 million is a lot of money, it will help 20 percent of the 150,000 students who are at risk. They said it will cost 115 million dollars a year for 10 years to create a sustainable change.

They said by September numbers will move in the right direction of the number of children being served in our state. If you would to apply for Child Assitant Program or find a childcare center for your child, you can click here.