JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Wednesday, October 11, the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) announced a new partnership with Wonderschool.

Wonderschool is a child care management platform that streamlines the business of running child care programs, to address the urgent need for flexible and high-quality child care across the state.

According to MDHS officials, the new initiative will recruit educators and help them launch new home-based child care programs where there are not enough, give existing providers tools and data to build sustainable programs, and create one of the first statewide substitute teaching pools in the country to help address short-term care needs.

“Child Care is critical to supporting parents in the workforce. Mississippi is committed to ensuring families across our state have access to consistent, quality child care,” said Robert G. “Bob” Anderson, executive director of MDHS. “Our collaboration with Wonderschool is one of the proactive steps we’re taking to expand access to high-quality and affordable care to families, while filling the gaps in teacher shortages through the innovative substitute teacher pool.”

In the coming year, officials said MDHS will work with Wonderschool to expand child care access across the state by supporting the startup of home-based child care programs.

The Wonderschool platform will be available statewide, with an emphasis on interested providers across 15 priority counties, serving parents and children who are in child care deserts or communities of high need – including Jefferson, Hinds, Wilkinson, Washington, Humphreys, Noxubee, Coahoma, Claiborne, Issaquena, Forrest, Warren, Clay, Lee, Madison, and Benton. The initiative will also support 50 existing providers.