Finger scan program for childcare questioned - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Finger scan program for childcare questioned

One of their concerns is that parents will remove their kids from the roll before agreeing to finger scan. One of their concerns is that parents will remove their kids from the roll before agreeing to finger scan.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Finger pointing over a finger scanning program continued in court Wednesday. The finger scanning is currently in a pilot program for about 30 centers across the state. It's for parents receiving federal money to help pay for child care, but providers say it's causing problems.

The issue for opponents is the way the Department of Human Services made its rules for expanding the pilot program on Feb. 1.

"Until childcare providers know what their responsibilities and obligations are, that's why we're here in this court," said the plaintiff's attorney, Lisa Ross, about their reasons for being in court.

The courtroom was filled with child care providers. Some of them took the witness stand. One of their concerns is that parents will remove their kids from the roll before agreeing to finger scan.

"Just to say it's a rule of law, so we're just going to do it. I mean to the point of almost putting people out of business," explained Shirley Hampton who owns Jamboree Child Development Center in Jackson.

DHS submitted an economic impact statement after the judge required it in October. But the plaintiff and child care provider, Deloris Sue, argues it's not detailed enough. Now they're seeking an injunction.

"February 1 is right around the corner and I think the judge would want the public to know whether they're going to have to comply by February 1 or not," said Lisa Ross.

Xerox is the company under contract with DHS to provide the scanners. But their attorneys say the company has no place in this lawsuit.

"If there is a dispute between the administrative procedures act and the way DHS carried it out, a vendor such as Xerox is not a party to that. Should be dismissed and then the action can proceed on," explained Ronnie Musgrove, attorney for Xerox.

Meanwhile, DHS argued there would be significant costs involved if the program doesn't move forward.

"As I suggested in court, we filed a motion to dismiss a couple of months ago and this was something that was renewed at the request of the petitioner," described DHS attorney Doug Miracle.

A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the children and parents affected by the program. The judge said she will rule soon but did not give a specific time.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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