DHS ready to roll out childcare finger scanners - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Aug. 30 deadline set for parents to scan fingers

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Scans will replace signatures for check-ins at daycares this fall for parents receiving federal money to help pay for childcare.

Parents and providers were notified July 15 that the official start date for the eChildcare system is Oct. 1, but opponents are still trying to get it stopped.

Still, the delay is over and the Department of Human Services is ready to roll out the finger scan program in childcare centers statewide.

"Parents that wish to continue utilizing their certificate need to register," said Dr. Jill Dent with the Division of Early Childhood Care and Development.

They're required to watch a training video and get their scans done at local DHS county offices by Aug. 30. Otherwise, they won't have access to the federal aid used for childcare payments.

"Business owners choose whether or not they want to participate in the certificate program. The certificate program is a voluntary program," explained Dent.

But some concerned providers feel like it's mandatory.

"If we choose not to participate in the scan that means that we cannot accept children that are on the program and they know that that's our livelihood," argued Eulonda Garry with Prep Company Tutorial School in Jackson. "So we're being forced to do this and I don't think that's fair."

Despite similar concerns in town hall meetings and previous hearings in Hinds County, some providers and parents from the pilot program point to success.

"I have not had a lot of absenteeisms. My parents are getting in. The right people are picking the children up," said Lynn Black of Little Leap Academy.

"Helps me to continue to go to work, as well as, make sure that my kids are taken well care of and no one could get my kids if not on that scan program that they have," said parent Courtney Hinton.

There's still an unanswered request in court to stop the implementation of the system.

"Filed an injunction on Friday asking the judge to enjoin DHS to follow the administrative procedures act and we're waiting at the judge at this point," explained Delores Suel, owner of Prep Company Tutorial School.

Suel, like others, is waiting on the judge's response before they decide if they'll sign on to the program.

DHS says the scanners will cost around $1.2 million and will be used for the 18,000 children whose care is federally subsidized. So far, around 70 centers have agreed to use the machines in their facilities.

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