Government Wants to Fingerprint Poor Parents Who Put Kids in Daycare

Say What!? 123

daycareWhat if you had to scan your fingertips every time you dropped off or picked up your child from daycare? That's what parents will be doing in Mississippi when a new program begins next year. With Mississippi eChildcare, parents who get federal childcare vouchers will have to scan their fingers every time they bring their kids to daycare.

When I first heard about the program, I thought it was a security measure -- kind of extreme, but just a way to make sure the wrong adult doesn't leave with your kid. But nope! Its real purpose is to help the state keep track of attendance. In other words, they want to find out how much of that voucher money is being wasted on families who hardly use them. The state claims it could save up to $18 million by reducing false attendance claims by childcare providers. Yay! All they have to do is treat low-income parents like criminals.

I get why the state would want to save money. No point in wasting money on childcare that isn't actually getting used. But this just seems so punitive. It's just another example of how it's always assumed that those people on government assistance are dishonest and always trying to scam the system. So great, because Mississippi doesn't trust you, you'll have to get fingerprinted every time you drop off and pick up your kids -- like you're already doing something wrong!

Childcare centers say they'll get screwed with this new program, too. They're worried that they won't get reimbursed for time when kids are actually at the center. Fair enough? But the centers say it costs the same for them to run those centers whether or not all of the kids participate all the time.

The tricky thing about childcare is that for too many families, their need for it is unpredictable. If you're living on the edge of poverty, you may be employed one week, unemployed the next. Your hours could get cut with no warning. And if you're trying to claw your way to independence, having reliable childcare is essential. Those centers need to be there, ready for you.

Hell, this isn't even a scenario for lower-income families. I think many middle-income families aren't feeling 100 percent secure in their employment, either. The idea of your childcare disappearing on you at the last minute strikes terror in the hearts of any working parent. Anyway, the program is still in the pilot stages, so it's not a done deal. I hope they find a better way to manage their voucher system.

Do you think it makes sense to fingerprint parents who receive federal childcare vouchers?


Image via {just jennifer}/Flickr

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purpl... purpleflower514

Yup I do. You accept government money you have to be prepared to prove you are using it properly. Deal with it.

Tommy... TommyAbby

Too much goes to waste with those who abuse the system. This is what happens. Those who don't will end up getting punished. THis is a great measure. I hope they add the drug testing before getting state assistance also. 

fleur... fleurdelys3110

This is a great idea. Like purpleflower said, if you want government money, you have to prove it is being properly utilized. That means there will have to be some strings attached. If it prevents a waste of my tax dollars, I'm all for it. Also, this wouldn't inconvenience the parent at all. Electronic fingerprint reading takes about one second.

nonmember avatar Ann

It sounds like they are wanting to eliminate the fraud from the daycare centers. If your child isnt there they can still claim he/she was and get money that they actualy didnt work for. Sounds like a good plan. And I agree on the drug testing. I think the system should be way more strict than it is.

bills... billsfan1104

Awwwww poor entitled blogger, who thinks that the government should just hand out money like they will never run out. Too bad. Maybe if people uaed it properly, they wouldnt have to do that.

2nino... 2ninos4me

Im sorry but they wouldnt be treated like criminals , if the poor are getting the money they are in need of then the least they could do is a simple thing as finger print like they will have to do ... Is do pathetic that you author think people should receive money and maybe abuse the help they are receiving because hey ! They are being treated as criminals smh ........... I guess you have never heard of those ppl that abuse the system

MomLi... MomLily67

It can go both ways, but the main purpose should be to provide quality daycare for the children of working parents. 

nonmember avatar Shannon

When you are spending OPM (other people's money) you don't get privacy. Want privacy? Pay for your own childcare instead of expecting the government to take care of it.

nonmember avatar kristi

Yes, it makes perfect sense. It could save the state $18 million? That is quite a few people abusing the system who need to be held accountable for their freebies. There would be so many less people abusing benefits if they were properly monitored.

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

It isn't the parents that are being punished. WTF? It's preventing fraud from the providers. If the providers were honest, the parents wouldn't have to do this. 

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