Thanks for asking. If you are on this site, your child is likely to be in the most important years of development. So what are your best options for choosing a quality program? Please read below to learn about possible choices:
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps low-income families to pay for child care while working or attending school or training. Monthly payments are based on the number of hours the parents work or attend school or training, as well as the amount charged by the child care provider, family size and household income. Parents can select any Type 3 child care center, school-based before and after school program, licensed child care center determined by the Department of Defense, registered Family Child Day Care Home, or In-Home provider that is active in the CCAP provider directory.
Early Head Start
Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, and their families, and pregnant women and their families.The Goals of Early Head Start are as follows-
- To provide safe and developmentally enriching caregiving which promotes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and prepares them for future growth and development;
- To support parents, both mothers and fathers, in their role as primary caregivers and teachers of their children, and families in meeting personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency across a wide variety of domains;
- To mobilize communities to provide the resources and environment necessary to ensure a comprehensive, integrated array of services and support for families;
- To ensure the provision of high-quality responsive services to family through the development of trained and caring staff.
The principles of Early Head Start are designed to nurture healthy attachments between parent and child (and child and caregiver), emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach to services, and encompass the full range of a family’s needs from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday.
EarlySteps provides services to families with infants and toddlers from birth to 36 months of age who have developmental delays, or a medical condition likely to result in a developmental delay.
Easter Seals is the System Point of Entry (SPOE) for the EarlySteps program in Northeast Louisiana or Region 8. EarlySteps is Louisiana’s Early Intervention System under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C.
Anyone can refer a child they are concerned about to the SPOE including the family. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for the family for the assessment or for families with Medicaid. If supports are needed there may be copay for families without Medicaid who earn greater than 300% of the poverty level. The copay amount varies with income. The family never has to drive to a distant office. Services are provided in the child’s home or natural environment and are very family-focused.
The SPOE works with the family to evaluate the child and develop services designed to improve the family’s ability to guide and enhance their child’s development based on the families concerns, priorities, and resources. The Intake service coordinators provide families with information so that they make decisions based on the full knowledge of choices or options available to them, and fully understand their rights, opportunities and responsibilities under federal and state laws. The plan includes linking the family to other needed resources and providing supports such as special instruction and occupational, speech or physical therapies.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of preschool-age children and their families by enhancing the child’s cognitive, social and emotional development.
Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in the following domains: language and literacy; cognition and general knowledge; physical development and health; social and emotional development; and approaches to learning.
Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. Head Start programs build relationships with families that support:
Family well-being and positive parent-child relationships
- Families as learners and lifelong educators
- Family engagement in transitions
- Family connections to peers and community
- Families as advocates and leaders
The Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development Program (NSECD) provides tuition reimbursement to parents who send their children to state-approved private preschools and child care centers. The program provides six hours of daily instruction and up to four hours of before- and after-school care.
To qualify, families must meet the income requirement, which is 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
Public Schools Programs
The Preschool Expansion Grant Program.
The Preschool Expansion Grant preschool program was established in 2015 to serve students who are at-risk of not being prepared for Kindergarten. Families must meet the family eligibility requirements. Three preschool expansion grant classrooms are currently in the Monroe City School District. These classrooms are housed at childcare facilities..
Cecil J. Picard LA4 Early Childhood Program
As Louisiana’s largest preschool program, the Cecil J. Picard LA4 Early Childhood Program provides economically disadvantaged children with early childhood education during a six-hour-a-day program and before- and after-school enrichment.
Four-year-olds who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch are eligible to attend the program.
The 8(g) Student Enhancement Block Grant Program
The 8(g) Student Enhancement Block Grant Program preschool program was established in 1993 to serve students who are at-risk of not being prepared for Kindergarten. Priority is given to students from economically disadvantaged families.
The LA4 program is Louisiana’s main preschool program. However, school districts can use other funding sources, such as Title 1 funds or other district resources to fund PreK classes.