Digital First: MDHS working to combat decline in child care

Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) has dedicated more than $50 million to assist child care providers and families in need of child care in a safe, healthy environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MDHS Division of Early Childhood Care and Development (DECCD) made child care providers a priority when the pandemic caused many child care centers to close. Through training and financial assistance, roughly half have reopened and others are being trained on how to operate safely during a pandemic. MDHS worked quickly to file emergency policies that allowed for additional financial assistance to become available to child care providers and families.

MDHS increased payment rates to child care providers, offering the highest reimbursement rates available to offset lost revenue and increased child care operational costs in response to COVID-19. MDHS is also temporarily paying co-payments for parents. 

To further support families, MDHS has made child care subsidy available to first responders and other essential personnel through Emergency Certificates. The list of eligible families was recently expanded to include greater numbers of essential personnel including teachers and child care providers, cashiers, custodial staff, and social workers.

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