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Citing ‘Critical’ Staff Shortages, Louisiana Offers Child Care Subsidies To Essential Hospital Workers

PreK_KIPP.jfif
Aubri Juhasz
/
WWNO
PreK students at KIPP Central City Primary on Oct. 2, 2020.

Nurses, medical technicians and other essential hospital workers now have access to subsidized child care in Louisiana, the state’s department of education announced Monday, citing “critical staffing shortages in acute care hospitals.”

Most states offered essential workers subsidized child care during the early days of the pandemic before sunsetting the programs last spring. As the pandemic roars back in Louisiana, the subsidy is an indication that the state’s health care system is overwhelmed.

A record number of people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Louisiana -- nearly 3,000 as of Monday -- and many hospital systems have reported staffing shortages.

The subsidy isn’t available for all hospital personnel and targets lower paying jobs including personal care attendants, laboratory technicians, and janitors.

The subsidized child care program, known as the Child Care Assistance Program or CCAP, is a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Department of Health.

Essential hospital personnel in Tier 1 or 2 hospital settings can apply for subsidized child care for children under the age of 12 starting Monday. Subsidies can be used at qualifying child care centers as well as for in-home care.

If approved, families can access the subsidy for a full year, though the program may be extended. Applications will be accepted through the end of October.

Aubri Juhasz is the education reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was a producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She helped lead the show's technology and book coverage and reported her own feature stories, including the surge in cycling deaths in New York City and the decision by some states to offer competitive video gaming to high school students as an extracurricular activity.

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