OUACHITA PARISH EARLY CHILDHOOD NETWORK (OPENetwork)-LDOE COMMUNITY NETWORK PILOT

Lead Agency:  The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana

Lead Agency Contact: Maureen Gallagher, Early Childhood Director   

Act 3, the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Act, declares that it “is the intent of the legislature that a comprehensive and integrated delivery system for early childhood care and education be created to ensure that every child enters kindergarten healthy and ready to learn.” Act 3 mandates that the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) create “a comprehensive and integrated network through which to manage and oversee all programs funded through state or federal resources that provide early childhood care and educational services.” To begin the implementation of Act 3, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), accepted applications from around the state to become Early Childhood Education Community Network Pilots.

Thirteen diverse Louisiana communities were selected to begin the navigation of the new system, provide input, and serve as models for the remainder of the state. Partners in the networks include child care providers, Head Start grantees, and school-based early childhood programs including those at charter schools and NSECD (Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development Program) sites that serve a significant number of children who receive public funds and agree to share services and resources to develop a coordinated system of early childhood care and education for their community.

The four goals for the Community Network Pilots are to provide:

• Models for building sustainable local capacity for infant to age five care and education
• Successful supports for early childhood professionals to improve their skills and gain credentials
• Implementation of outcomes-based quality rating system for programs accepting public funds
• More children enter school ready for success

In order to meet these goals and implement Act 3, Community Network Pilot Program Partners must leverage existing funding and share resources to increase the number of infant-to-age-five, at-risk children served in high-quality inclusive settings. Braiding funding, sharing or combining resources and using diverse delivery models are being encouraged by LDOE to increase capacity in communities across the state.

The Ouachita Parish Early Childhood Network (OPENetwork) is composed of key stakeholders providing early care and education services in Ouachita Parish. The coordinating partner for the OPENetwork is the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. 

Program leaders:
• Class A licensed child care centers-Carol’s Kids Daycare, Child’s Play II, Fair Park Baptist Church, LDCC Children’s Center, Little Flower Academy, Mini Scholars, Mini World Day Care, Open Arms, ULM Child Development Center
• Ouachita Parish School System and Monroe City Schools,
• Claiborne Christian and Our Lady of Fatima (NSECD sites)
• CDI Early Head Start
• OMCAP Head Start
• Early Steps
• New Vision Learning Academy

Supporting partners:
• ARCO
• Child Care Connections (resource and referral program of the Children’s
Coalition for Northeast Louisiana)

• Families Helping Families
• Little Flower Catholic Church
• Louisiana Delta Community College 
• Monroe Chamber of Commerce
• OMCAP Head Start
• Strauss Interests Inc.
• University of Louisiana at Monroe
• United Way of Northeast Louisiana
• Wellspring Alliance for Families
• West Monroe Chamber of Commerce
• Workforce Investment Board (WIB) 81