“Why are so few Latino families enrolled in early care opportunities in Jefferson Parish, and what can we do to change that?”
That’s the question that was posed to us, when Dr. Sarintha Stricklin, Executive Director of Jefferson Ready Start Network engaged Advancing Communities for Equity. With a bustling Latino population, and a PreK-12 system of over 15% Latino students, we recognized this complex problem was laden with systemic issues related to inclusion, representation, communication, and policy. Through a landscape analysis, family focus groups, and community engagement, we developed a report of our findings. Subsequently, we have hosted a series of stakeholder engagement meetings, cultivated community partnerships, and developed a two-generation program that provides employment and training to parents while their children enjoy high quality child care. In 6 months since the release of the report, the number of Latino children served in formal early learning centers has increased by 5%. We continue to support all early learning centers in Jefferson Parish in becoming culturally and linguistically responsive, to better serve Latino families.