Mississippi Child Care Centers Define Quality & Express Negative Economic Impacts due to COVID-19, according to new report

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Biloxi, MS – Mississippi child care providers say they have yet to recover to pre-COVID enrollment numbers and cannot afford to make quality improvements without additional funding outside of parental fees, according to a new report from the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI). MLICCI Child Care Provider Survey: Assessing Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Trends and Perspectives on Child Care Quality Improvement compiles feedback from 171 child care providers plus an additional three focus groups who participate in the state’s child care assistance program.

 

We asked providers to tell us about their pre and post covid numbers, to share with us how they define child care quality, and what their experience has been of quality improvement efforts in Mississippi. Here’s what they told us:

  1. Centers experienced multiple harmful impacts from the pandemic, and have not recovered to pre-covid enrollment numbers.

  2. CCDF centers have capacity to serve more children, but parents in their communities cannot afford the cost of care without CCDF assistance.

  3. Providers know and express great consensus about how to define quality.

  4. Providers cannot afford to make quality improvements without additional funding from a source OTHER than from their parents who cannot afford higher fees.

  5. Providers include in their definition of quality: affordability of services for parents.

  6. Providers include in their definition of quality: ease of access to CCDF funded child care assistance

  7. Providers include in their definition of quality: hours of operation that support parental employment

  8. Providers identify the above listed factors in the definition of quality as racial equity issues.

Therefore, this report leads to these conclusions. Mississippi should:

  • use ARPA funds to serve more children;

  • combine a quality improvement strategy with adequate public funding to support provider participation;

  • ease parental access to CCDF child care assistance

  • promote early childhood services that support parental employment by offering services during hours parents work;

  • add affordability, ease of access to services, and hours of operation that support work to the definition of quality and these factors should be understood to be about racial equity.

 

For the full report, please visit https://bit.ly/MLICCIQualitySurveyReport21.