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Child Care Operators Speak Out Against Finger Scanning System

By Daniel Cherry | Published 10 Oct 2012 06:55pm | comments
Mississippi child care providers are protesting the state's plan for scanning the fingerprints of some parents who sign their children in and out of daycare. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports...
 
The plan is, beginning in November parents using the federal Child Care Voucher Program to scan their fingerprints when dropping off and picking up their children. The Mississippi Department of Human services administers the voucher program. Jill Dent who heads up the DHS child care department, says finger scans will help make sure families receiving vouchers are fully using them.
 
"If we have a family that's putting their child in care for half a day a week, 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 serving the people that need the services the most."
 
The voucher program is designed to help low-income residents afford day care for their children. Currently there are about 8 thousand children on a waiting list for a voucher. Childcare providers are protesting the finger scans. Carol Burnett with the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative thinks, if providers are only paid by daily attendance, it could hurt their bottom line.
 
"That childcare center still has to have the same number of staff that day that they pay wages to, and they still have to have that same learning center whether there are 10, 11, 12,or 9 children that happen to be in attendance that day."
 
Childcare providers like Carolyn Todd of Senatobia are skeptical of the proposed system.
 
"I think that with the fingerprinting program it's just so much that we do not know. I have families, I have parents that are asking all kinds of questions that I cannot answer."
 
The finger scan system could cost up to 12 million dollars over 5 years. Providers say that money could have been better spent on sending more children to day care.

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