Escape from poverty through early childhood education (The Advocate)


Northampton, MA –News Direct– Entergy Corporation

More than half (57%) of Louisiana children were living in financial hardship before the pandemic — the HIGHEST rate in the nation — according to a new report from Louisiana United Ways, United For ALICE and Entergy Corp.

“ALICE in Focus: Children” shows that we must relentlessly invest in children and families so that every child has the resources they need to succeed.

While 26% of Louisiana children lived below the federal poverty line in 2019, an additional 31% were growing up as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE families earn more than the FPL but not enough to afford a minimal family budget.

The report also reveals significant disparities for children by race: 76% of black children and 66% of Hispanic children in our state were considered ALICE in 2019, compared to 42% of white children.

Traditional measures of poverty significantly underestimate the number of children living in financially insecure households. This matters because the FPL is used to determine eligibility for assistance programs, leaving many struggling ALICE families without essential support for housing, food and education.

Access to early childhood education helps children acquire the fundamental skills needed to succeed in school and enables parents to work. Children who have access to high-quality preschool education are more likely to obtain more education and have higher lifetime earnings, and are less likely to be involved in the justice system criminal.

Lawmakers have the opportunity to make meaningful investments to expand access to early childhood education for low-income families this session. As members of the Ready Louisiana Coalition, we urge lawmakers to allocate $94 million for these programs to support Louisiana’s children, families, and economy.

“ALICE in Focus: Children” better illuminates our path to equitable solutions for ALICE families. It’s time we took the necessary steps to ensure that every child in Louisiana thrives.

Patty RiddlebargerVice President for Corporate Social Responsibility, Entergy Corporation

Charmaine CaccioppiExecutive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

Letter to the editor originally published in the May 5, 2022 edition of

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