NSU Child and Family Network to distribute childcare center grants

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Child and Family Network, the North Louisiana Economic Partnership and the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce acknowledge and thank the Caddo Parish Commission and Commissioner John-Paul Young for providing $200,000 in funds for COVID-related expenses to childcare businesses in Caddo Parish.

The NSU Child and Family Network will facilitate the distribution of grants to individual childcare centers per agreed upon guidelines with Caddo Parish.

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“NSU is honored to collaborate with the Caddo Parish Commission, NLEP and the Greater Shreveport chamber in this unique program to support family and workforce needs,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “NSU is not just academics, but also strives to be an essential resource to the communities it serves.”

Like all small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic repercussions delivered a significantly negative and, in some cases, fatal blow to childcare businesses.  Available childcare is a critical factor in facilitating the reopening of the rest of the economy. A survey conducted by NLEP in April indicated that 43 percent of respondents said lack of childcare was a barrier to their employees’ ability to return to work.

While the current Louisiana Phase 3 guideline allow childcare facilities to open, it is with significant constraints and increased costs.  Childcare facilities are limited in the number of children they can serve based on stringent guidelines for distancing and group sizes.  They have increased costs for required PPE and stringent sanitation guidelines.  New protocols for drop-off and pick-up and increased facility cleaning require additional staff.

The new costs and decreased income occurred as nearly 9,000 Louisiana children whose families received support from Louisiana Child Care Assistance Program from federal pandemic support funds will no long receive CCAP if the state does not allocate new funds for this program.

The NSU Child and Family Network offers a variety of services to assist early learning programs and families in northwest and central Louisiana. The Child and Family Network is a part of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. CFN assists owners and providers of early education programs as well as families who want information or resources.  Services include professional development, resources for providers and referrals for families.