The state of Mississippi has received a $10 million grant from the federal government to improve the state’s child care system while also working to improve workforce development.
The ‘Connected for Success’ grant is worth a total of $10.62 million, and it aims to ensure that children can attend child care centers that provide high-quality services and learning experiences in a safe environment while their parents receive training to help them get a job.
The grant is being awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While announcing the grant, Governor Bryant stated that it will benefit many single moms in Mississippi by helping them find workforce training programs while allowing their children to be taken care of in a federally funded childcare program.
“The number one reason that single moms are not working is because they can’t find a place to put their children,” Governor Bryant said. “Just think, if you’re a single mom in the Delta trying to pay for childcare and go to school, it’s nearly impossible. This grant will help bridge that, and we will be able to find more young ladies that will be able to go to work, find a job, have a career and live the American dream right here in Mississippi.”
The Governor stated that the grant has already been deposited, and they’ll begin to work with community colleges and child care entities to get the plan in action right away.
Mississippi’s child care system is designed to place low-income families on a path to self-sufficiency and keeping children with their parents. The system is structured to promote the welfare, learning, and stability of young children through an integrated network of resources and services, and this grant will be put towards realizing that goal.
The grant will help fund the ‘Connected for Success: A Family-Based Unified and Integrated Early Childhood System’ which is summarized in the bullet points below.
• Connecting early care and learning programs and services within and between state agencies and private organizations to holistically support children and their families from birth to age 8 through the development and implementation of individual service plans.
• Forming a network of centers based on two designations: standard and comprehensive. The standard designation focuses on high-quality services in terms of curriculum, health and safety, and staff. The comprehensive designation builds on the standard designation and focuses on the continuity of high-quality care and learning as a child transitions from center to center and into the K-12 system.
• Infusing coaching and technical assistance into child care centers through Early Childhood Academies in order to level the playing field and achieve high-quality care and service for all children without being burdensome to child care providers.
• Connecting families to a network of human services, education, and workforce programs designed to eliminate barriers and provide training to achieve occupational goals.
• Relying on data-driven web and mobile technology to improve delivery of services to assist families anytime and anywhere and to maximize efficiency and effectiveness for continuous quality improvement of all services.