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About Us

We, as a state, need to invest in early childhood. This is the purpose of BrightStart, to create and implement a comprehensive early childhood system to provide young children (from birth through age five) and their families with the best opportunities for optimal physical, emotional, social and cognitive development.

We have two primary goals:

  1. To develop, maintain, strengthen and integrate the current service systems and partnerships to better enhance a child’s ability to enter school healthy and ready to learn
  2. To continue to build an early childhood system that addresses these priority areas:
    • Access to Medical Care
    • Mental Health and Social-Emotional Development
    • Early Care and Education
    • Parenting Education and Family Support
    • Child Safety

How we came to create BrightStart

In 2004, with the support of the Federal government, BrightStart completed a Needs Assessment of early childhood services in Louisiana, followed by an extensive strategic planning process. Through the participation and input from over 200 public and private stakeholders, BrightStart developed a Strategic Plan, which was adopted by the Children’s Cabinet in the summer of 2005. From 2005 until the present, BrightStart has been in the implementation stage of the initiative. This work was guided by a steering committee, which was comprised of representatives from state agencies and non-governmental child-serving organizations.

Many of the goals and strategies set forth in the Strategic Plan have now been implemented, thanks to new policies and legislation. Here are just a few of a growing list of accomplishments achieved through the hard work of the many partners collaborating through BrightStart:

In December 2009, Governor Jindal designated BrightStart to serve as Louisiana's Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC). The state ECAC's are charged under federal law to develop and implement a plan to improve the coordination of programs and services for children birth to school entry.  The BrightStart Advisory Council has been expanded and reconstituted to be Louisiana's ECAC, and in September, 2010, Louisiana was awarded a federal grant to support the ECAC in building an early childhood system.

The designation of BrightStart as the ECAC for Louisiana marks a new phase in the work of the initiative.  The expansion of BrightStart's responsibilities will provide the oppportunity for BrightStart to build on its successes.  Through the new BrightStart/ECAC, Louisiana will be able to continue to move forward in establishing a comprehensive, coordinated early childhood system with the appropriate infrastructure to support high quality programs and services that address the needs of our young children and their families.

Our Structure

BrightStart features two organizational components:

  • Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), the body that represents early childhood stakeholders in Louisiana (membership list at "Advisory Council Members", above)
  • Executive Committee, the governing body of the Advisory Council (ECAC) (members noted with an asterisk on the "Advisory Council Members" list)

Meetings of both the BrightStart Early Childhood Advisory Council and the BrightStart Executive Committee are open to the public. The schedule of meetings is listed on this website under "Recent Info", Upcoming Meetings.

Early Childhood State Advisory Councils

Status Report April 2013

Provides an overview of activities of Early Childhood Advisory Councils in each state, including Louisiana.

 

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