Paying for Child Care in Mississippi

$4,863. That was the average annual cost of child care for Mississippi parents back in 2014. For full-time workers paid the state’s minimum hourly wage of $7.25, infant care would account for more than 30% of their monthly income–and that’s before taxes. With this high price tag coupled with no national paid parental leave policy, parents in Mississippi are often forced to choose between maintaining their livelihood and ensuring their children receive the care they need.

The Mississippi Child Care Payment Program (CCPP) is a voucher system designed to lessen the financial burden that child care costs create for low-income parents. By making child care more accessible to these families, the positive rippling effects of CCPP are felt not just by parents, but by everyone in the state: increased employment, reduced poverty, reduced absenteeism and turnover for employers, higher contributions of tax revenue into the general fund, and improved school readiness in children. But despite its benefits, CCPP currently serves just a fraction of eligible children. For too many low-income families, child care remains out of reach.

That’s why Carol Burnett, Faith in Women Board President, formed the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI)— to address this gap in coverage that prevents parents, most of whom are women, from maintaining steady employment. Since 1998 MLICCI has focused on securing women’s economic security by advancing policies and direct service models that work to increase the availability of affordable child care for low-income working parents, to achieve gender equality in the state workforce, and to make the social safety net work for women. MLICCI tenaciously works to increase the number of low income working mothers served by the CCPP, to make access and retention of CCPP services easier for them, and to strengthen the financial viability of the child care centers that serve them.

Because of their deep relationships with low-income single mothers and providers, MLICCI witnesses the many ways in which systematic racism and sexism impact the state’s current child care assistance climate.  Single mothers face an inequitable workforce, and they comprise the majority of adults reliant on public safety net programs. All of these factors obstruct women’s economic security. In response to these realities MLICCI works at the intersection of racial justice and gender justice to advocate for policies and investments that strengthen women’s economic security.

The Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary. More than 100 MLICCI friends, supporters, and child care center directors from across the state joined us for the event where MLICCI released of a report detailing the 20-year history of the state’s Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Their key observation was this: “[W]hen Mississippi spends more on direct services, it serves more children and more parents can work or attend training or education.” In other words, an investment in affordable child care is an investment in Mississippi’s future.  

To learn more about MLICCI, visit

August Partner Highlight: Moore Community House

Moore Community House

Our summer blog series features some of our partner organizations working in the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement. This month we highlight Moore Community House. 

Moore Community House, a mission agency of United Methodist Women, served as the first organizational “home” for Faith in Women back in early 2015. Read on to learn more about how Moore Community House is transforming our state through building stronger communities for women and their families. 


Moore Community House (MCH) strives for flourishing Mississippi communities through their work to create economic security for women by providing affordable child care and job training. 

Brief History and Programs

Since 1924 MCH has been working to better the lives of families living on Mississippi’s coast. Located in East Biloxi, the organization has its roots in serving the children who worked–or whose parents worked–in the seafood factories at a time when there were no labor laws to protect workers or to prevent child labor abuses.

Today MCH has two major programs:

Early Head Start allows low-income parents to return to work while their children receive high-quality early child education from infancy through preschool. Their program covers a wide-variety of services including nutrition, counseling, school readiness, and employment. Early Head Start also works with pregnant women to make sure they stay healthy throughout their pregnancy, birth, and delivery. 

Women in Construction (WinC) provides career training for women in trade skills that will help them earn living wages.  Since 2008 more than 400 women have completed the pre-apprenticeship program, and just recently MCH received a $3.5 million federal grant to expand this initiative significantly over the next four years!

Supporting Faith in Women

Faith in Women owes its start to Carol Burnett, Director of Moore Community House. Seeing a need for progressive women-centered advocacy within the Mississippi faith community, Carol developed the idea to build a grassroots network of faith leaders and people of faith working in support of Mississippi women and their reproductive health. The idea quickly took root under the leadership of Ashley Peterson, becoming the Faith in Women network that we know today and operating under its own 501(c)3. Carol now serves as our Board President, guiding the vision of Faith in Women alongside WinC Program Director Julie Kuklinski and WinC Instructor Simone Agee.

Opportunities to Connect

There are a number of ways you can get involved with the work of the Moore Community House. Visit their website to make a donation, read up on recent news, or follow them on FacebookTo learn more about the Women in Construction program, you can follow their blog.