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Mississippi DHS Likely to Cut Childcare in 2012

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 14 Jun 2011 01:25pm | comments
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Chanta Genes of Jackson is a single mother of two-year-old Jamecia and three-year old and La-Aja.  Because she earns $17,000 a year, Genes is one of the many parents now making too much for childcare aid.

"They were learning a lot when they were in daycare,” said Genes. “Jamecia knows her letters.  She knows her colors, her different shapes."

Genes is afraid her daughters may fall behind kids that receive an early childhood education. The girls now stay at home with an aunt.

Without  pre-k education in Mississippi,  daycares are left to provide an early childhood foundation.

Carol Burnett, Executive Director of Mississippi Low-Income Initiative, said “Childcare centers understand their role as early childhood provider, and they really struggle to meet the expectations."

Burnett spoke to a crowd of daycare providers in downtown Jackson last weekend.

When parents like Genes had to pull their kids out of daycare last month, many of these providers felt the impact. They are worried that, with cuts in 2012, even fewer parents will be able to place their children in daycare, staying home with their kids instead.

Burnett believes this is a step backward since daycare subsidies started as a pathway for parents to go from welfare to work.

Jill Dent with the Mississippi Department of Human Services told Mississippi Public Broadcasting last month there is a strong possibility of more cuts in the future.

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