Childcare Providers Continue Fight to Block Finger Scan Program in Miss.By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Aug 2013 06:06am |
Childcare providers and the Mississippi Department of Human Services are back in court today battling over the future of a plan to require some parents to use a finger print scan to check their children in and out of child care. Providers are trying to stop the rule from taking effect this fall.
The new rule would require the parents of some 18,000 Mississippi kids who use federal subsidized vouchers for child care to scan their finger every day.
Providers have been fighting the rule, and took that effort to Hind County Chancery County yesterday to ask a judge to block it.
Cassandra Welchlin with the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative says a mandatory economic impact statement from DHS is faulty and insufficient for the state to pursue the rule.
"Still very problematic and to doesn't seem like it is necessary. And from our perspective that's a waste of money. And (Jill Dent) is saying it would be more cost efficient but we believe it would be a waste of money to implement this system," Welchlin said.
During testimony yesterday, Jill Dent with DHS says she went to other states and researched the biometric scanners for almost two years before implementing them.
"We wanted to make sure that we were picking the best solution for the state and considered the best option for the agency as well as for providers in the state to be able to serve as many families as we could," Dent said.
Dent says the scanners will help the state reign in fraud in the voucher program.
But the providers ultimately want the scanner rule blocked permanently.
Provider Erica West, who runs a day care in Leflore County, says the state's claims of rampant fraud are overblown.
"I don't think we have any (fraud). The children are coming to school every day. We have a sign-in sheet. The parents must sign that sign in sheet. And we go by that and the teachers have a sign in sheet in their office also. I am not trying to have any fraud," West said.
Currently, parents are required to sign up at a DHS office before the end of the month with the scanners becoming required October first.
The judge could decide soon if the program can go forward as planned.
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