Economic Well Being | Agenda for Children

Economic Well-Being in Louisiana

Louisiana’s future economic prosperity depends on connecting today’s children and their families to the opportunities that can help them thrive. Basic economic security-having enough food, stable, safe housing, and adequate healthcare-should be a given for every child in our state. When we connect kids to that kind of stability, we promote their healthy development, enabling them to reach their full potential.

Decades of brain research show that when kids experience economic instability and food insecurity, they can experience something called toxic stress, which can have lifelong implications on brain development and physical health. Put simply, toxic stress happens when children experience prolonged periods of stress that aren’t buffered by protective relationships. When this happens, children’s bodies and brains are flooded with stress hormones, such as cortisol, for extended periods, increasing their risk for developmental delays and even health problems as adults.

Louisiana has long struggled with some of the nation’s highest child poverty rates, but change is within our reach. Improving children’s economic well-being requires adopting an approach that empowers the adult caregivers in a child’s life to provide safe, stable relationships and meet their children’s basic material needs.

Strategies Louisiana Can Use to Improve Economic Well-being

Enact tax policies, such as a child tax credit and an expanded earned income tax credit, that are proven to reduce child poverty and increase family economic security.
Enact workforce policies that help parents enter and/or remain in the workforce, including paid leave, paid sick time, and expanded access to the Child Care Assistance program.
Raise the minimum wage, which would increase the household income for many of our lowest-income families.
Expand access to affordable housing in neighborhoods of opportunity by increasing public subsidies for affordable housing in areas close to jobs, high-performing schools, grocery stores, and other amenities and incentivizing housing developers to create more affordable housing in these areas.
Reduce barriers to accessing public supports, such as SNAP, WIC, Child Care Assistance, LaCHIP and, cash assistance (FITAP). Strategies to improve access can include simplifying application processes, offering multiple ways to apply, providing in-person and virtual application assistance, and utilizing flexibility allowed by federal regulations to expand the pool of eligible families.

Related Publications

Data on the Economic Well-being of Children and Families in Louisiana

The KIDS COUNT Data Center has a wealth of data on economic security at the state and parish levels. Learn more

State Level Partners Working to Improve Economic Well-being in Louisiana

of LA children live in families without secure employment
of Louisiana children benefit from FITAP, Louisiana’s cash assistance program
of LA children live in households with a high housing cost burden
of LA children live in households that were food insecure at some point during the year
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The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2024 KIDS COUNT Data Book Ranks Louisiana 48th in Child Well-BeingLearn more