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Parents of 4,000 Mississippi Children Will Pay More for Daycare

By Daniel Cherry | Published 06 May 2011 04:45pm | comments

At the end of the month about four thousand Mississippi children will be dropped from a federally funded day care voucher program. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how businesses and parents are coping with the losses.

Many of the children at Noah's Ark Daycare Center in Jackson are able to attend due to a federal child care voucher that pays a large percentage of the costs. Jennie Sturgis owns Noah's Ark. Without that voucher many of the parents can't afford to keep their children enrolled.

"I have about 30 children losing their certificates May 31st, and what's ironic is these are the parents who are working, trying to keep child care. But because they fall into that percentile they're losing their child care certificates."

Vouchers once covered anyone making less than 85 percent of the state's median income. Now anyone making more than 50 percent will be dropped. Jill Dent is the Director for the Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood Care. She says this stems directly to budget cuts from the federal government.

"Certainly if the federal government said 'Here. Have some more money' I would certainly take it and pick these children back up. Of course we're looking at all possibilities, but right now we have no other alternative."

On average the cost for one year of daycare for an infant is more than $4,600. Many of the parents are worried about how they're going to afford another bill. Monikia Dozier lost her voucher.

"You've just got to make things work because I know I've got to go to work and she's got to go the school. I'm going to have to either pick up a second job or make ends meet some kind of way...do a good budget in order to pay for childcare."

Some parents say they might have to quit their jobs because the cost of child care is too high compared to their salary. Jill Dent with the Department of Human Services says there is a strong possibility of more cuts in the future. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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