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Court Puts Controversial Fingerscan Program on Hold

By Daniel Cherry | Published 24 Oct 2012 06:08pm | comments
Childcare providers gather outside the Hinds County Chancery Court in downtown Jackson
A controversial plan to require fingerprint scans of parents to drop off and pick up children at Mississippi childcare centers has been put on hold. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how some childcare providers are claiming victory...for now.
The plan was to require low-income parents who receive federal child care assistance to scan their fingerprints when dropping off and picking up their children. The Mississippi Department of Human Services said the plan would make the childcare program more efficient. It was scheduled to go into effect in a week, but is now delayed following a hearing yesterday in a Hinds County Chancery Court. Lisa Ross is an attorney representing a group of child care providers.
"I'm very pleased with the outcome of this hearing. For months now DHS has been unwilling to listen to the childcare providers. It took a state court judge to tell them that they had to sit down at the table with the childcare providers and to comply with the administrative procedures act."
The providers argued, DHS didn't provide an economic impact statement for the program, and they say childcare providers were never part of the discussion when drawing up the plans. Assistant Attorney General Earl Scales representing the state says DHS officials will now have to release the study, hold a public hearing, and get input from providers.
"Once we have the public hearing we will come to the table, as we told the court, and we had told the providers, we will have a core group that will come to the table and discuss that with DHS, the issues that they have."
Childcare providers like Phelisa Pittman of Jackson are glad to have their voices heard.
"I think a lot of people that started, they just assumed that there would be no comments from us, that we wouldn't have anything to say, but they underestimated the people that work in childcare."
The earliest DHS could resume plans for finger scans would be mid December.


Childcare providers gather outside the Hinds County Chancery Court in downtown Jackson



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