Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Boys Town Louisiana Receives $1.5 Million Grant

This article is written by Jessica Williams of The Times-Picayune. It was posted December 10, 2014 on

New Orleans' youngest pre-schoolers will soon benefit from $8.2 million in additional federal money, officials announced Wednesday. Four local non-profits will partner with child-care providers to increase education quality and expand capacity at pre-schools for children 3 and younger.

The agencies are Boys Town Louisiana, Kingsley House, LSU Health Sciences Center and Total Community Action.

The new money comes amid a surge of local criticism that children this age get financially shafted. Louisiana's pre-schools are already under-funded by the public, advocates say, but even less money is available for children 3 and younger. Child-care centers typically rely on federally programs such as Early Head Start and on federal block grant money, which pays for the state's child-care assistance program.

But child-care assistance has been cut 58 percent in the past five years, which means low-income parents shoulder more and more of the cost to keep their children in pre-school. As a result, many have pulled their children out of pre-school.

On Wednesday, however, the Department of Health and Human Services announced more money for 234 organizations that administer or who work with Early Head Start, a federally-funded pre-school program for children 3 and younger. More than $435 million will be distributed across 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, officials said.

As a result, more than 30,000 additional children will be able to access Early Head Start. That's about a 25 percent increase and "a lot of young lives changed. And a lot of impact delivered," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said.

The competitive grants are intended to encourage collaboration between new or existing Early Head Start grantees and child-care providers, and they will serve children and families in a variety of settings. The awards were made public at Wednesday's White House Summit on Early Education, when state and federal officials also announced that Louisiana's 4-year-olds will get $32 million in extra funding as part of a $1 billion investment in early childhood learning.

With the funding, Kingsley House plans to partner with 12 new child-care providers in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, chief executive officer Keith Liederman said. His organization will take on an oversight role, managing Early Head Start implementation for about 200 children.

"Really, it's about helping to increase the quality of early childhood development," Liederman said. "This helps to bring the same standards to other providers that are not currently Early Head Start providers. For their infant and toddler program, it's kind of like raising the bar," he said.

For Boys Town, which will work with three new child-care providers, it's about expanding access to the programs they currently have. Executive Director Dennis Dillon said his group offers parenting classes and in-home services to families, to help stabilize children's home lives. The programs "help to heal and strengthen families," Dillon said.

Each of the providers selected to partner with Kingsley House and Boys Town received high ratings in Louisiana's Quality Start child-care rating system, both said.

Local agencies haven't yet received the money, as officials are still negotiating the terms of the grant awards. They expect to begin distributing grants in January and finish by March.

Here are the proposed grant amounts:

City Agency Amount
New Orleans Boys Town Louisiana, Inc.  $1,500,000
New Orleans Kingsley House, Inc. $2,500,000
New Orleans Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - N.O. $3,100,000
New Orleans Total Community Action, Inc.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families