THE BRONX - Latino children lag behind others when it comes to pre-K enrollment, according to findings released Tuesday by an advocacy group.

Pre-K Now says 40 percent of Hispanic children, ages 3 to 5, attend pre-kindergarten compared to 59 percent of whites and 64 percent of blacks. The group believes early education is vital to future success. Pre-K Now cites finances, culture and language as barriers to Hispanic enrollment.

Parent Marcelia Hernandez said she was hesitant to sign her child up, but now she knows she made the right decision. "We can teach but only so much at home," Hernandez said.

The organization has launched a Spanish-language Web site and toll-free number to educate parents about the importance of the classes. It's also joining forces with another group to launch a TV and radio campaign.

The state of New York recently allotted $146 million to push pre-K enrollment. New York City added $16 million locally. Pre-K Now officials said they plan to continue to fight for more funding.

Related information:Prekinder.org1-800-424-2246