Single parents benefit from policy change

Published 7:35 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

By Will Westmoreland

As of May 15 Mississippi single parents are no longer required to cooperate with various child support enforcement agencies to
become eligible for state child care subsidies.

As a result of almost two decades of advocacy by the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI) the official policy
change instituted by Mississippi’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has gone into effect.

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MLICCI has been advocating for elimination of the child support requirement, which had prevented thousands of families from
accessing public child care subsidies needed to secure economic stability.

MLICCI’s Executive Director Carol Burnett, said, “This policy deterred many single moms from applying (for benefits) for many valid reasons, ranging from informal payment agreements being jeopardized by court interference to avoiding abuse
interactions. The removal (of the child support requirement) is a huge benefit for single parents, their children, providers and
employers. For all of us.”

She went on to add, “MLICCI is thankful to DHS, Mississippi’s State Early Childhood Advocacy Council (SECAC), and our many partners for sticking with us to achieve this victorious outcome. Most of all, we are grateful for the opportunity to center the voices and needs of single moms and their families in order to achieve this amazing development.”

The Child Care Payment Program (CCPP), operated by the Mississippi DHS, offers financial aid regarding child care to low-
income parents. They make the service accessible to families and allow parents of young children to hold jobs who otherwise couldn’t due to child care costs being often unaffordable to many families around the state.

MLICCI’s Policy Director Matt WIlliams, added, “Child care is more than a critical support service for families: It is a lifeline for
the entire state’s economy. Mississippi has one of the highest rates of single parent households, and the highest rate of female
breadwinners in the nation. The importance of access to affordable child care can’t be overstated.”