Child care providers say they're forced to scan or scram - - The News for South Mississippi

Child care providers say they're forced to scan or scram

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Scan or scram is what some child care center owners are feeling. DHS recently announced the statewide roll-out of the finger scan program for parents using federal money to pay for child care.

Tiny Tots Learning Center owner Bessie Walker has toys, books and papers scattered and boxed up. After 34 years in business, Friday is her last day to be open. Walker refuses to put the controversial scanners at her front door.

"I cannot let a person come here and separate my students. Because if you walk in, you don't know who on voucher and who not on voucher. I can't allow for nothing like that come in here. Can't be a part of that," said Walker.

The eChildcare system would pay the centers only for the times the child is present. That's also the case for facilities that typically charge by the week. And DHS won't reimburse for those absences.

"Have a classroom that this child is on roll. The teacher is still there, nothing has changed," explained Walker. "So that means if they're not paying you that means you are losing. You have to continue to have money to operate."

The same outrage led to rally cries of "ban the scan" outside the state Capitol Friday morning.

Other providers haven't gone as far as Bessie Walker but they are struggling to figure out how they'll stay in business.

"They will not consider the lives they are affecting with this. And I take it personal," said Lutaya Stewart who owns Children's Educare Preschool in Jackson.

"I did everything I could to try to find the kids a place," said Walker.

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