Mississippi Community Colleges take over Early Years Network program
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016
The Mississippi Department of Human Services is reorganizing how the state provides childcare services to low-income families, ending a contract with the Mississippi State University Extension Service at year’s end.
MSU was contracted by MDHS Division of Early Childhood Care and Development to operate the Early Years Network program in 2014. The program will be transitioned to the leadership of the Mississippi Community College Board under a six-month contract, which includes a center at Pearl River Community College.
According to information on the MDHS website, the Early Years Network was created to provide a unified system of services to support families and professionals caring for Mississippi’s children.
According to a proposal for the new system, the Mississippi Community College Board will take over responsibility of managing early childhood facilities, providing training, management and specialized services such as mental health.
A joint statement from MSU and MDHS states, “MSU and MDHS will continue to work cooperatively and diligently to operate these sites through the end of the contract period to continue to serve the needs of Mississippi families impacted by this program and to seek solutions that keep the flow of services from being interrupted during this orderly transition.”
The new system is scheduled to become fully operational on July 1, after a six-month transition period.
In 2015, PRCC’s Poplarville campus opened a resource and referral site for the Early Years Network as part of the Poplarville Excel By 5 program, Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, vice president for workforce and economic development at PRCC, said.
Alsobrooks said at this point the administration isn’t sure what the transition will entail, but “as a college, we support these kind of programs and we’re going to work with whoever’s going to manage them.”