IN THE PRESS

MS SPENDS MORE ON SUBSIDIZED CARE, BUT COULD SERVE FEWER

The Mississippi Department of Human Services says it has increased by 50 percent the share of federal welfare money used to subsidize child care for low-income families.

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cdispatch.com - Jan. 9, 2017

Mississippi has historically used about 72 percent of TANF funds each year

One Mississippi group is alleging the state left millions of dollars on the table that could have gone to benefit families in 2016 and is working with lawmakers to introduce legislation to ensure it doesn't happen again
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clarionledger.com - Jan. 7, 2017

SEEKING SOLUTIONS FOR WORKING POOR MOMS - AUDIO

Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation among women -- 23.1 percent. Almost one in three children in the state lives in poverty, and nearly 65 percent of poor families are headed by single mothers.
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mpbonline.com - Dec. 1, 2016

ASSESSING WHAT TRUMP'S WIN MEANS FOR MISSISSIPPI - AUDIO

Weeks after Donald Trump captured the White House, leaders in Mississippi are trying to assess what his presidency could mean for the state.
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mpbonline.com - Nov. 30, 2016

LAWMAKERS ARE MYOPIC ABOUT MEDICAID

Before spreading negative myth about Medicaid recipients, check the data.  Read more.

Clarionledger.com - Oct. 27, 2016

LOW INCOME MOTHERS NEED POLICY AGENDA

Yesterday at 8:00 a.m. I was at the Mississippi Health Department in Jackson City. Read more

thehill.com - Oct. 20, 2016

THE COST OF BEING POOR IN MISSISSIPPI - AUDIO

In Mississippi, 22 percent of residents remain in poverty and nearly 638,000 live below the poverty line AND face high costs of living in rent, food and child care.
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Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Mississippi Edition - Oct. 18, 2016

HOW STATE AGENCIES DANCE WITH PRIVATIZATION

Mississippi children living in poverty may be among the neediest in America, but last year the State of Mississippi did not allocate $35 million earmarked to help poor families in the state. Read More

jacksonfreepress.com -Oc. 19, 2016

UNUSED FUNDS SHOULD GO TOWARDS CHILD CARE

A recent study shows Mississippi left millions of federal dollars on the table last year. Advocates say there's good reason to put it toward child care. Read More

www.msnewsnow.com - Oct. 19, 2016

“SNAP JUDGEMENT”

The 1996 welfare reform law is being used to cut food aid to some of the poorest Americans. Read More

MotherJones.com - November/December Issue 2016

"ONE CHILD CARE GAIN, MUCH MORE NEEDED"

Mississippi uses the federal Child Care and Development Fund to provide child care vouchers to low-income working parents. CCDF vouchers make a huge positive difference by making child care affordable so low-income parents can work.  Read More

The Clarion Ledger Newspaper- Oct. 4, 2016

VULNERABLE KIDS GET CHILD CARE SUBSIDY EXTENSION

Some of the state's most vulnerable children won't immediately lose their child care, even if their guardian finds a job and loses support from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Read More

JacksonFreePress.com- Oct. 4, 2016

Other "In the News" links

MLICCI in the News

MLICCI receives grant from the Foundation for a Just Society and is profiled on their website

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. 

August 8 Town Talk at Moore Community House in Biloxi

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.

MLICCI Director testifies at MS Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission

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.

MLICCI Director attends United Nations Commision on the Status of Women Session

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.

MLICCI Step-Up featured on national Half In Ten Blog

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. 

Step-Up featured in webinar

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.

Morning Meeting Reached No Solution Either

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.

Second Hearing, Same Results

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.

Protestors - "Ban the Scan!"

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.

 

 

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.