Louisiana residents whose jobs are classified as essential services during the coronavirus pandemic can sign up for state aid that will help pay the cost of child care.


The Louisiana Department of Education today started the Child Care Assistance Program. By completing an application, families can access subsidized care for children age 12 and under at licensed childcare centers participating in the program or through registered and certified family childcare and in-home providers.


Click here to view the costs.


Click here to apply.


Gov. John Bel Edwards’ emergency proclamation to close all schools to students through at least April 13 did not include childcare and early-learning centers. Early-learning centers make individual decisions about whether to close their businesses.


However, updated directives from the Governor's Office and health officials have advised limiting group sizes to 10 or fewer children and adults.


"If you can keep your children at home, please do so," said acting state schools Superintendent Beth Scioneaux, reiterating guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health. "But we must ensure affordable access to childcare for those who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort. Opening CCAP to critical personnel is necessary and important as we fight the spread of COVID-19."


Families of essential critical infrastructure workers are eligible for the program will be expedited, Scioneaux said.


Edwards’ stay-at-home order, which advises all Louisiana residents to stay at home except for performing essential functions such as going to the grocery or pharmacy, takes effect at 5 this afternoon. The order limits activities at businesses and other places classified as nonessential.


And it allows operations to continue, while following health recommendations like keeping a six-foot distance from others, at essential businesses and agencies, including but not limited to:


• Health care.


• Law enforcement, public safety and first-responders.


• Food and agriculture.


• Energy, including electrical and oilfield workers.


• Waste and wastewater.


• Transportation and logistics.


• Public works.


• Communications and information technology.


• Other community-based government agencies.


• Critical manufacturing.


• Hazardous materials.


Interested families must complete the online application. Upon approval, initial certification will be valid for 30 days. If the public health crisis continues beyond 30 days, the Education Department will reassess applications.