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Local Daycare Owner Warns of Crisis In Childcare Statewide

Posted by Allie Martin | July 23, 2012 / 05:45pm | Local News
TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) - As afternoon nap time ends at Little Leap Academy, Lynne Black and her staff are preparing snacks for the preschoolers.  All of the kids here are from low income families.

"Their parents are below the poverty level," Black said.

Federal dollars  assist working families with child care, but last  year, many of those families were cut from the program, administered by the state Department of Human Services.

The results were devastating for the East Tupelo daycare.

"That took us down to eight children, and a lot of my parents lost  their jobs, a lot of my parents weren't able to continue with school  because they had nowhere for their child to go," Black said.

So Black and other daycare owners got busy talking to state lawmakers  about the impact of the cuts.  Recently,she was part of a press  briefing at the Capitol by the Mississippi Low Income Child Care  Initiative.  That organization is trying to get more funding directed  to daycare centers serving low income families.

She also let local businesses know of her need.  Home Depot donated  materials and workers  who gave Little Leap Academy a major facelift.

"They provided every child here with brand new kinder mats. They  bought hand soap, they did roofing repairs , they did a brand new  playground, ceiling fans , cleaning supplies," she said.

Little Leap Academy had also been under- reimbursed by thousands of dollars from DHS.  That, along with help from Home Depot and other  businesses and volunteers helped turn things around for the daycare.   Also, Black  believes lawmakers in Jackson now have a better grasp on  the matter, but she's not finished.

She plans to continue lobbying state lawmakers and eventually she  hopes to take her case to  Washington DC.  She says congressmen and  senators on Capitol Hill need to hear how important it is to maintain  funding for low income daycare centers.

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