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Childcare Providers Say Fingerscan Program Will Hurt Business

By Daniel Cherry | Published 07 Dec 2012 05:58pm | comments
Mississippi child care providers continue to oppose a program requiring fingerprint scanning for families receiving federal childcare assistance. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, opponents say the program will hurt their businesses.
 
The Mississippi Department of Human Services is moving ahead with a biometrics program, requiring low-income parents receiving federal childcare vouchers to scan their fingerprint when dropping off and picking up children from daycare. At a community meeting on Friday, Lela Taylor with G.G.'s Christian Academy in Pearl says she will not participate in the program.
 
"I will not victimize by babies by them seeing my mom going over to be fingerprinted. They think a fingerprint is something when you've committed a crime."
 
The state says the goal is to reduce waste and eliminate fraud in the childcare program by ensuring the state isn't paying for children when they're absent from daycare. Jill Dent, head of the DHS childcare department, recently spoke with MPB.
 
"If we have a family that's putting their child in care for half a day a week, then that's something we'll look at. We won't necessarily jump up and go cut them off. We just want to be able to make sure that we're servicing the people that need the services the most."
 
But many providers believe the fingerscans will deter parents from participating in the voucher program, which many providers rely on to keep their doors open. Cassandra Welchlin with the Mississippi Low-Income Childcare Initiative says they're currently looking for sponsors in both the House and Senate to draft legislation to block the 12 million dollar fingerscan program.
 
"Really demanding that they use the money to serve more of those kids and not put it into any other program. They have a system in place, the E-Ledger system. It was working perfectly. Let's leave it as it is because it's wasteful spending and it's over-regulating small businesses."
 
The fingerscan program could be implemented statewide as early as February. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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