The Louisiana Center for Afterschool Learning is a growing collaboration of local, regional and statewide organizations working together to improve the quality and access of afterschool, summer and youth programs. Louisiana’s network includes state agency leaders from the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the Office of Juvenile Justice, educators, afterschool providers, child care centers, youth development experts, faith- and community-based organizations, parents and youth.
The development of the statewide afterschool network was spearheaded by Dara Shackelford, previous Policy Director at the Partnership for Youth Development, formerly Greater New Orleans Afterschool Partnership. In September 2009, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Innovation in Louisiana Government (ILGF) Fellowship selected “Building a Quality Improvement System for School-age Care” as one of four final projects to be developed by Fellows Jan Byland (DCFS), Willene Griffin (DCFS) and Dara Shackelford. In 2010, Education’s Next Horizon was awarded a three-year grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Match funding was sought from the Department of Children & Family Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Partnership for Youth Development, and other public and private sources. Louisiana has had a long-standing commitment to afterschool programs since 1986 when the Legislature funded faith-based afterschool programs.