26 August 2013

Ban the Scan: Fighting Child Care Barriers in Mississippi

The Ms. Foundation for Women is standing in solidarity with low-income families in Mississippi and the child care providers who serve them as they fight injustice.

Ms. grantee Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative recently helped win a preliminary injunction against a fingerprint scanning system that would stigmatize low-income women, who rely on federal subsidies, and erect operational barriers for child care providers. This system has the potential to harm both low-income families and child care business owners.

Low-income parents who receive federal child care vouchers would be forced to scan their fingerprints when dropping their children off at child care each day. This system treats low-income parents like criminals, singling them out from the higher-earning families at their child care centers.

It’s standard practice for child care providers to charge weekly or monthly rates, for families both paying in full and using subsidies. But under the fingerprint scanning system, child care providers would be paid only for the specific times that children receiving vouchers are present. Child care providers would experience a decrease in reimbursement when children who rely on subsidies are absent.

Families might decline the voucher system for privacy reasons, and child care providers may stop accepting children who rely on vouchers because of the decrease in reimbursement. The end result could be a severe curtailment in child care access for low-income families and a loss of jobs for child care providers whose businesses fold.

Mississippi has allocated $12 million to Xerox over five years to operate this system – money that would be better spent enrolling more children in the voucher program, according to Cassandra Welchin at the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative.

We couldn’t agree more! The Ms. Foundation is following developments closely and spreading the word about the impact on women and families who need our support the most.

Return to the Ms. Foundation for Women website


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