Mississippi child care assistance.

One of the main Mississippi programs that can provide low income parents with help in paying their day and child care bills is the free Certificate Program. This is paid for by both federal government and some state funds, however it is administered locally in your town or county. The state will subsidize a portion of the families costs and the family that is enrolled in the program will be responsible for paying the balance. It provides low income parents and/or guardians in Mississippi the ability to go to work, a job, or school without needing to be concerned with who is caring for their infant, teenager, or child.

There are several eligibility requirements and so called priorities set by the state. The state, Division of Economic Assistance, puts many of the rules in place. They include the following.

The child needs to be under the age of 13, however some exceptions can be made for parents or children that are physically or mentally handicapped. Several income limits are in place as well and the family and their household must fall within those limits.

Top priority is given to TANF eligible residents. The parent who is receiving cash assistance will be required to participate in an allowable TANF program activity, such as full time employment or job training. They need to abide by all other guidelines as well. All of the TANF program requirements must be followed closely.

The second priority is for those on TCC, or Transitional Child Care. This is for parents who are entering into the workforce. Low income and qualified families are eligible for TCC based on a referral from their Mississippi TANF caseworker.

The third priority is for those who are very low-income/working poor but who are considered to be at risk for receiving TANF benefits. To fall into this category, and in order to benefit for state subsidized full-time day or child care, the parent must be employed at minimum 25 hours per week. Or they can be enrolled into school or job training on a full time basis. Mississippi will require that full documentation be provided on a case by case basis by those who request priority number three.





Other conditions that apply for this priority include, if there are two parents, they each need to be enrolled in school full time and/or working at lease twenty-five (25) hours per week. While the family's gross income must be at 50% (percent) or below the Mississippi Median Income, and exception is made for those children in Protective Services and they are eligible for government subsidized child care services without regard to income. Protective Services parent(s) and also Foster parent(s) are served at the request of their regional social worker, so touch base with them for information or to enroll.

Fairly similar to above is Priority IV, which is for those on risk of going on TANF. Based upon the availability of federal government funding, those children of a parent that is in an approved full-time educational or training program and meet income limits may benefit. The income limits may be slightly different.

The free Mississippi Certificate Program will pay a part of your total expense. Those parents who meet the work and income requirements for participation in the program will be the ones responsible for paying their child care provider a monthly co-payment fee, which is the portion that the state won’t pay for. In addition to those costs, low income parents will be responsible for covering published tuition rates.

What this means is that if your provider or schools tuition rate is $250 per month and if Mississippi reimburses you $200, then the participant/family will need to pay the difference of $50. They pay this, and it is known as a co-payment, directly to the school or day care provider.

To learn more or request an application for the Child Care Certificate Program, call the Mississippi of Economic Assistance or your local social service office. Or dial toll free 1-800-877-7882.




By Jon McNamara

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