CECR Publications | Agenda for Children

Brief #7: What challenges do parents face when verifying eligibility for early childhood programs?

Applying for early childhood seats in New Orleans requires parents to both apply and then verify their eligibility before they can enroll their child in a program, a process that can be daunting for families. The seventh brief in our series, “What Challenges do Parents Face When Verifying Eligibility for Early Childhood Programs?”, illustrates parents’ experiences navigating the verification process, and highlights ways that local, state, and federal government can work to make verifying eligibility simpler for families.

Brief #1: Who enrolls through the centralized application?

This first brief looks at who enrolls in publicly funded early childhood programs through the centralized application (NCAP, formerly OneApp). The brief also examines which groups were more likely to participate in Main Round (when families are most likely to get matched to their most preferred option) and examines the implications for the coordinated enrollment system.

Brief #2: What do parents of young children look for in early childhood programs and elementary schools?

The second brief in the series “How New Orleans Families Navigate Early Childhood and Kindergarten School Choice” looks at what parents of young children look for in early childhood programs and elementary schools. Program quality is paramount for parents, but they define quality differently based on whether they’re seeking an early learning program or kindergarten. Location, school culture and other considerations also factor into parents’ decision-making.

Brief #3: Can parents find, and access, what they’re looking for?

This third brief in a seven-part series summarizes responses from 100 parents who applied for or enrolled in a public school or early childhood education (ECE) program in 2020, about whether they can access their preferred programs and schools. The brief explores parents’ perceptions of whether they can access high-quality programs, barriers to access and parents’ concerns about equity. It also looks at the role of geography in parents’ choices and finds that geographic constraints often limited their accessible set of program options.

Brief #4: How do parents learn about programs and the application process?

The fourth brief in the series “How New Orleans Families Navigate Early Childhood and Kindergarten School Choice” summarizes responses from 100 parents who applied for or enrolled in a public school or early childhood education (ECE) program in New Orleans in 2020, about the ways in which they gathered information both about programs and the application process. Choosing the right program for a child can be a daunting experience for parents. This brief explores where parents looked for informational support, and how they ultimately experienced the process of choosing and applying for schools.

Brief #5: How do parents approach filling out the application?

The fifth brief in the series “How New Orleans Families Navigate Early Childhood and Kindergarten School Choice” looks at how parents approached the common application process for early childhood and kindergarten programs in New Orleans. The substantial amount of information to sort through leaves some parents feeling as though they don’t have enough information about the programs available to them. This brief examines what that means for the way parents approach the application, and how comfortable they feel with their final set of program choices.

Brief #6: How well do parents understand the enrollment process?

Parents say they don’t always understand how the enrollment process works, or feel skeptical that it works the way that the school district says it does. But beyond a general distrust of the process, can these misunderstandings actually negatively affect families’ chances of getting a preferred seat? The sixth brief in our series, “How Well Do Parents Understand the Enrollment Process?”, addresses common myths voiced by families, and highlights the best approaches to the application that can help families get a seat in one of their preferred programs.

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