IN THE PRESS
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MLICCI in the News
Carol Burnett, MLICCI founder, and MLICCI are featured in a grantee profile at fjs.org. “Growing up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement shaped my values around racial and economic justice and gender equality,” says Carol. “It also emphasized the importance of living in a way that reflects what you believe.” Click hear to read the rest of the profile.
MLICCI brought women together to share needs to make families more secure. The event was held in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Click here for photos.
Carol Burnett, MLICCI founder, testified at the April 29, 2015, hearing on the importance of investments in Early Childhood Education and the potential disparate impact of federal low-income childcare subsidy distributions in Mississippi, and related programs or services, on the basis of race or color. To see her testimony, click here.
Carol Burnett, MLICCI founder, attends United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Session in New York, which opened on March 9, 2015. View photos from her trip.
Research from the Step Up program shows the Catch-22 of funding quality improvements for centers serving low-income children. Click here to read the blog post.
MLICCI Executive Director Carol Burnett presented Step-Up findings on a webinar hosted by the National Women’s Law Center. The webinar focused on making QRIS work in low-income communities. Click here to view the slides or replay the webinar.
Carol Burnett (MLICCI and MCH) will attend the White House Summit on Working Families in Washington, DC
Carol Burnett, of the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative, and Moore Community House in Biloxi, MS, will attend the White House Summit on Working Families to be held in Washington, DC, on June 23, 2014. (For more information about the White House Summit visit: www.workingfamiliessummit.org)
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will address the White House Summit on Working Families. The Summit is co-hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Department of Labor.
The White House Summit will explore how our workplaces can support working families, boost businesses’ bottom lines, and ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades. The Summit will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates and the media for a discussion on issues facing the entire spectrum of working families – from low-wage workers to corporate executives; from young parents to baby boomers caring for their own aging parents.
“I will attend the Summit and promote the need for affordable child care for low-income working families, most of whom are single mothers; and job training that leads to higher paying jobs so parents can support their families,” says Carol Burnett.
Mississippi suffers from an intractably high poverty rate. This poverty rate persists despite work because too many jobs pay low wages and employee benefits and work supports are meager or nonexistent. The workforce has low education levels and racial and gender disparities persist. Poverty is worse where young children are present, and where the family is headed by a single mother.
In Mississippi, 8 out of 10 minimum wage workers are women. Many of these women are single parents of young children. At $7.25/hour, minimum wage leaves a family of 2 (a mom and one child) below the federal poverty level. 76% of Mississippi’s poor children reside in single mother headed families.
The most effective strategy to move single-mother headed families out of poverty is subsidized child care. Because child care is so expensive (often as much as college tuition) this is the work support that make the greatest financial difference in moving a single mother headed family out of poverty.
Mississippi relies on the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant to help low-income parents with the cost of child care. Where parents can receive this assistance it makes an enormous difference. For example, a single parent earning minimum wage will pay 27% of her total income for child care for one child.
If she is lucky enough to get a child care subsidy funded by the CCDBG block grant, her annual child care costs will reduce from 4071/year to 720/year. Clearly this makes a large financial difference.
In addition to supporting employment, child care subsidies prevent reliance on public assistance. The National Women’s Law Center reports that 82% of women leaving welfare for work remain employed after two years if they receive a child care subsidy.
Despite this significant benefit for the population of working families where poverty is concentrated only 12% of the state’s eligible children are served due to inadequate funding. Over 7000 children languish on the waiting list. A recent report reveals that our nation is at a 14 year low in the number of children served by the Child Care and Development Fund and this time when women are increasingly clustered in low-wage jobs where job growth is occurring.
Our nation needs to increase investment in subsidized child care so more working families with children can be served and parents can go to work and remain employed.
In addition, too many working moms are concentrated in low-paying job sectors. The Moore Community House Women in Construction program demonstrates how job training targeted to create pathways for women to enter non-traditional employment can significantly increase women’s earning power and, thus, improve their ability to financially support their families.
Training opportunities like Women in Construction need to be more available to women across Mississippi.
A handful of child care providers from across the state and Lisa Ross, a Jackson attorney, met with Ass. District Attorney Earl Scales and Jill Dent, director of Division of Early Childhood Care and Development, at the MS Department of Human Services on the morning of November 16. The meeting followed a suit filed by Ross in October on behalf of Deloris Duel, owner of two day care centers in Jackson. Ross filed suit in Hinds County Chancery Court for a temporary restraining order to stop the agency from implementing a controversial finger scanning policy.
Judge Denise Owens did not grant the TRO, but ordered DHS to hold another hearing, which was also eventually scheduled for November 16. But at the hearing on the TRO, Scales told the court that DHS had already planned to meet with a small group of providers who would “speak for other providers,” because meeting with more would be “chaotic”.
Ross excluded Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative, which organized the first efforts to fight to reverse the biometric policy, from the morning meeting where she challenged DHS about the contracts between providers and XEROX. She argued that the contracts were one-sided because providers had not negotiated them. DHS will pay XEROX nearly $13 million over the next five years to manage the finger-scanning process.
Both Dent and Ross said the meeting was productive, but that no solution was reached.
On November 16, child care providers from across the state replayed their concerns about the controversial finger-scanning policy that the Mississippi Department of Human Services has implemented in pilot centers in Hinds and Rankin counties. For the second time in as many months, the agency held a public hearing at the MS Public Broadcasting Auditorium, and although the November hearing was court-ordered, providers said they got no more satisfaction than they did at the October 10 hearing.
At both hearings, DHS staff moderated, but did not answer the questions and concerns raised by providers, advocates and parents about the policy that detractors say is invasive, too costly and has the potential to be abused. DHS officials say the biometric finger scanning will cut down on fraud and administrative costs as well as accurately track children’s time in centers.
DHS is requiring finger scanning at centers that participate in the federally funded Child Care Certificate Program that provides assistance with day care to families on a sliding fee scale based on income. Parents must have their fingers scanned at their local DHS offices and then scan them each time they drop off or pick up their children. Providers in the pilot program say finger-scanning has been disruptive, time-consuming and has cost them to fall behind in payments from DHS.
While only a fraction of the providers who came to the October 10 hearing attended the second, most say they want the policy reversed, but DHS officials seem just as determined to roll it out across the state in the coming months.
About 100 young protesters took seats on the steps of the Mississippi State Capitol wearing finger prints on their heads that read “Ban” or carrying signs that said “Ban the Scan.” With their pony tails and berets and braids, they were more concerned with making sure they got balloons --- purple ones with Child Care Matters in white letters. But when it was time to chant, they threw their voices up in the air: “Ban the Scan! Ban the Scan! Ban the Scan!” and pumped their signs, setting the stage for the child care providers and parents and grandparents waiting to speak behind them about the controversial new finger scanning policy MS Department of Human Services is implementing . The wind pushed against them and their balloons, but the little protesters broke out into another chant: “Ban the Scan, Ban the Scan,” before they marched once around the Capitol and then left to eat lunch. Click here to see a video of the rally and public hearing.
- Think Progress: Mississippi Refuses To Use Money That Would Give Poor Families Child Care 3/3/16
- Jackson Free Press: Report: Federal Grant Funds Mismanaged, Hurts Black Women 2/8/16
- MS Edition on MS Public Radio: Federal Dollars for Mississippi Children 2/9/16
- Op ed in The Root: When States Run Welfare, Black Children Are the Ones Who Get Hurt 2/9/16
- Jackson Free Press: DHS Makes Its Case for Scanners 11/21/12
- WFAE: Fingerprint Scans Create Unease For Poor Parents 11/20/12
- Jackson Free Press: Finger Scanners: 'A Child-Care Beef Plant'? 11/19/12
- WLBT: Controversy continues for finger scan program at childcare centers 11/17/12
- MPB: Fight Over Finger Scan Program Continues 11/16/12
- WJTV: Finger Scan Fight Continues 11/16/12
- MPB: Court puts controversial fingerscan program on hold 10/24/12
- Sun-Herald: Judge delays start of finger scans at child cares 10/24/12
- WLOX: Judge orders delay in finger scanning program 10/24/12
- WJTV: Day care finger scans put on hold 10/24/12
- WAPT: Judge delays start of finger scans at child care 10/25/12
- Clarion-Ledger: Daycare fingerprint program reviews mixed 10/16/12
- Press Conference After Public Hearing (YouTube Video) 10/10/12
- Jackson Free Press: AG's Office to Xerox: Back Off 10/12/12
- WLBT: Finger Scanning Technology Causing Controversy 10/10/12
- WJTV: Protests Against Day Care Finger Scanning 10/10/12
- WAPT-TV: Day care providers, parents protest fingerprint scanner law 10/10/12
- MS Public Broadcasting: Child Care Operators Speak Out Against Finger Scanning System 101/10/12
- Hattiesburg American: Child care operators protest finger-scanning rule 10/10/12
- Hechinger Report: Mississippi Learning. October 2012
- Jackson Free Press: Following the DHS Scanner Money. 10/3/12
- The Nation: The Invisibles in Mississippi and the US. 9/28/12
- Jackson Free Press: Finger Scanners Spark Concerns. 9/26/12
- WLBT: MS pilot program requires finger scanning for child care MLICCI comments on proposed fingerprinting system. 9/5/12
- WJTV: New rules for MS Child Care Certificates MLICCI comments on proposed fingerprinting system. 9/5/12
- MPB: Child Care Providers Protest Fingerprint System MLICCI organized providers to attend a legislative meeting on the issue in Jackson. 9/5/12
- DJournal.com: Child care providers say state needs to do more 8/10/12
- WLBT: Day Care Crisis MLICCI convened child care providers in Jackson who are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of cuts to the Mississippi Child Care Payment Program. 7/12/12
- WBTV: Child Care Crisis MLICCI convened child care providers in Jackson who are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of cuts to the Mississippi Child Care Payment Program. 7/12/12
Also of Interest
Click here to read Helen Blank’s Remarks at “Child Care Issues and the Presidential Election,” New America Foundation Panel, September 27, 2012
For more information about the finger imaging program in Louisiana, the only other state besides MS to use biometrics in child care centers, click on www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/TOTS.