Executive Director of UL's Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning, Billy Ray Stokes, publicly thanks the Acadiana Delegation for their support.

To describe this year's legislative session as tough is an understatement. Programs and funding were cut as our state representatives and senators worked to balance the state's budget while keeping the most vital and meaningful services primarily intact.

The Acadiana legislative delegation, made up of legislators representing Acadiana parishes, kept the interests of our area in mind throughout this year's session, aiming to protect the many positive programs in our community.

The Picard Center, as part of UL, would like to thank the Acadiana legislative delegation for its support of our center's research and the university's academic and research mission. Through various acts of legislation, our center was given additional resources to continue the state's longitudinal data system. This system contains the data of children from birth into the workforce to research the pathways individuals take as they progress through life. The Acadiana legislators were also passionate in their support for initiatives surrounding literacy, preschool, and school-based health services.

While data alone are meaningless, analyzing it can produce meaningful information that can be used by anyone, including school board members, parents, health care professionals, and law enforcement, to make decisions.

The support of these legislators, including the unwavering assistance of Sen. Mike Michot during his last legislative session, means that we as a community can enhance our research capabilities and continue working to improve our state by focusing on its most vital resources — its children.

Thank you, Acadiana legislative delegation, for supporting the Acadiana community, UL and our state's youngest assets.

--Billy Stokes

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