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Mississippi: Investing in Futures: The Business of Child Care in Mississippi

Project status

Completed December, 2003

Lead Agency

Mississippi Low-Income Child Care initiative

Contact Person

Carol Burnett
Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative
P.O. Box 204
Biloxi, MS 39533
Fax: 228-374-2219

Research Firm

Margery Van Meter, with input Dr. Bob Neal at MS Institutions of Higher Learning


  • Number of Establishments
  • Child Care Labor Force
  • Children Served
  • Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care
  • Multiplier Effects on Local Economy
  • % of Inc. Spent on Child Care


  • Stand-Alone Executive Summary/Brochure
  • Newspaper Article / Media Coverage
  • Conducted a Series of Presentations
  • Sent Out an Outreach Letter
  • Involved Business / Economic Development

Case Study

Case Study: Mississippi
"Investing in Futures: The Business of Child Care in Mississippi"
Date of Study Completion: December, 2003



This study was conducted by Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI) a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of child development of all poor children living in Mississippi. MLICCI focuses on better child care policies and greater public investment in child care subsidy programs Research for this report was conducted by Bob Neal, PhD, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Policy Research and Planning.


The study hoped to confirm and promote the notion that child care makes an important contribution to the Mississippi economy.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The study only dealt with licensed child care centers. At present Mississippi does not have a state-funded pre-kindergarten program.

Data Analysis

Measurement* Mississippi
Number of Establishments 1,790
Child Care Labor Force 10,521
Children Served 93,400
Gross Receipts Not reported
Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care X
Multiplier Effects on Local Economy X
Governmental Transfers / Subsidies  
Tax Receipts / Fiscal Impact  

*Not all studies included the same components making it difficult to compare the numbers provided in this chart with those of other studies. In its definition of the number of establishments, this study included licensed and regulated center care, and did not include licensed and regulated family care, regulation-exempt home-based care (informal care) or pre-k in public schools. This study did not measure gross receipts.

This report also included data on the price of full-time child care and compared that price to tuition at Mississippi State University. Input/Output analysis was conducted to determine the indirect economic contributions of child care.

Unique Finding

The research team found that a single parent in Mississippi with one child can spend more than 20% of her income on child care. Moreover, a single parent making the minimum wage could hypothetically spend 70% of the family income if she enrolled two pre-schoolers in full-time child care at the average price of care in Mississippi . It is not surprising, then, that many Mississippi families use less expensive, unregulated, informal child care provided by family, friends and neighbors.


Organizational Change and Outreach

Rather than referring to child care as welfare, the report has helped to portray child care funding as a work support. It also underscores that only working families qualify for assistance and most pay fees on a sliding scale. The language in the report itself was business oriented and used financial jargon to make the child care case. This can be seen from the title “Investing in Futures” and the introductory paragraph:

“Unlike commodities futures, the value of child care is not speculative. It is valuable not only to the families who depend on it and the children who receive services but to employers and the state’s bottom line as well.”

After a large roll-out, the State Economic Development Council volunteered to distribute a large number of the reports to its constituents.

Recently a bill was passed in the legislature requiring the state to gather early childhood data. Data collection will be centralized in a state agency and will include a child care census to be conducted in conjunction with the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.


The report made one policy recommendation: that Mississippi allocate the state matching funds needed to draw down all available federal child care funds. This recommendation was recently enacted. In SFY 04-05 and 05-06, the state allocated the funds needed to draw down all CCDF matching funds.

At present, MLICCI is trying to get the business and economic development communities to support an increase in state spending on child care, and to understand that this will increase the total amount of federal money coming into the state. Additionally, MLICCI is attempting to convince the Mississippi Economic Council to add child care to its agenda.

Interview with:
Carol Burnett, Executive Director
Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative
July 22, 2004


Download report