Last year, Having Kids proposed an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would have enshrined into law, policies that reduced inequality of resources and opportunities for all children born in the state, as well as enhanced natural environmental protections to ensure Colorado’s children had access to the rich natural resources of the state’s ecosystem.
Louisiana policymakers have expressed support for similar policies, or at least the importance of addressing [through the laws] the inequities of children. Louisiana policymakers have also fought and won major victories to pass laws protecting the state’s vast natural resources; especially along its coasts.
It is important to note, in Louisiana, political ideologies amongst the two major political parties rarely align when it comes to family planning matters, and the state is deeply religious. However, support for children’s equity policies have been supported by lawmakers and policymakers across the political and religious spectrums.
The Colorado fair start approach would enshrine “ . . . freedom and equality from the moment of birth . . . ” into the Constitution. The proposed constitutional amendment also places the state’s natural resources in a trust – held by the State – with the goal of protecting them for the “ . . . benefit of present and future generations . . . “
Perhaps, Louisiana would support a “fair start” plan as a legislative policy if supporters of the policy could unite a coalition of parents, educators, environmentalists, and lawmakers – convincing them of the need to dedicate new laws that would cause a reduction in inequity among children and provide for the protection and use of public lands.
Louisiana currently ranks last in the U.S. among the best states for children to live, according to a 2020 report from Save the Children. Among the organization’s recommendations to provide better opportunities for children, they call for governmental investment in the future [lives] of all children:
“We therefore call on policymakers at all levels of government to . . . craft strong policies, provide sufficient resources, and create an appropriate regulatory environment for relevant childhood programs and interventions to flourish.”
As the Colorado Fair Start proposal gains traction, Louisiana must begin rethinking its approach to providing for the fair, holistic, and equitable development of and investment in children.