“Daycare Dangers” The Dr. Phil Show with Dr. Cathy Grace and Dr. Kenya Wolff, Thursday, February 23, 2023

LOCAL LISTING: Airing on ABC at 4:00 PM

“Parents trust caregivers to watch and keep their children safe, but what really happens behind closed doors when caregivers think no one is watching? Dr. Phil is joined by families who claim they have experienced horrific situations at the hands of daycare providers. Keegan and Alissa say their worst nightmare came true when they discovered their 2-year-old daughter, Reign, was one of several children allegedly terrorized by several employees at their child’s daycare. Kimberly, who also had a child in the same class, says she doesn’t believe the owner is responsible. Why? In a different case, Ken and Kelly say a DCFS investigative unit contacted them regarding allegations of child abuse at their then-3-year-old’s daycare. Find out what happened to the owner and the teacher. Then, Dr. Cathy Grace and Dr. Kenya Wolff, Co-Directors of the University of Mississippi Graduate Center for The Study of Early Learning, say there is a childcare crisis in America. Dr. Grace says high-quality childcare is crucial for children’s social and academic development. Dr. Kenya says parents need to be informed about state agencies that can help protect their children.”


Abuse of Power and/or Incompetent Rule Making?

In my opinion, the Mississippi State Department of Health Child Care Licensure is guilty of at least one of them.

Many providers are alarmed over a third regulatory inspection being conducted.

In a ZOOM meeting in November, state actors waxed poetic about their decision to conduct four regulatory inspections – now for transitional periods – annually because they want to be our friends.

However, the guidance they are given from past studies provided ACF suggest quite the opposite.

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN LICENSING Child Care Licensing Inspection Policies (Click https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/1408_inspection_policies_final_1.pdf)

This report, one in a series of reports about contemporary issues in licensing, focuses on States’ inspection policies
and practices, providing a national perspective as well as insights from the nine States the authors surveyed and

Monitoring of child care facilities twice annually, increasing to four or more times annually as needed until
satisfactory compliance is stable or the facility is closed.

Also note that the time planned by Melissa Parker and others at Child Care Licensing is considered by some to be the most disruptive time of day:

The Washington licensing staff representative did not view unannounced inspections as more disruptive
overall, but felt that inspections may be more disruptive during certain parts of the day; for example, during
arrival, departure, and rest and meal times.

The authority to conduct inspections and the frequency and type of inspections may be found in state statutes and
agency administrative policies and procedures.

To my knowledge, MSDH has neither the statutory authority or the published and legally adopted rule to conduct more than one regulatory inspection (with the authority to impose fines) each year.

Questions presented to Melissa Parker of MSDH in November have gone unanswered. It might seem that she does not feel she is accountable to the public at large…or very friendly.

The inspections and/or training for these inspections have begun.

If you feel you have been aggrieved by these state actors or strongly oppose this regulatory plan, you may do the following:

Upon entrance, ask the licensing officials to provide you with the Mississippi Statute authorizing more than one regulatory inspection and/or for the date of this adoption as certified by the Mississippi Secretary of State. If you do not feel their response meets a constitutionally adequate substitute for a warrant, request an administrative warrant.

Contact your legislators immediately and share your concerns with them. Just a note – in this business environment, legislators can amend our statute to require MSDH to secure administrative warrants for any inspection other than the annually prescribed regulatory inspection.

No matter how carefully the law limits the discretion of inspectors, there are still certain protections that only a neutral decisionmaker can provide (prevention of harassing or pretextual searches, for example).

 Rethinking Closely Regulated Industries – Harvard Law Review

Call the Capitol today and leave a message for your legislators to contact you or leave a brief description of your concern.

Deloris and I always wish to hear from you, but a political action is required of you and all to successfully address this concern.

Capitol Switchboard: (601) 359-3770


President Deloris Suel will be hosting an urgent ZOOM session this Friday, December 16, 2022, at 12:00 Noon to discuss the recent Health Department Division of Child Care Licensure’s announcement of four inspections per year.

Please make plans to participate.

All licensed Mississippi child care programs are invited to attend.

The link will be provided to you soon.

Thank you.


On October 25th and 26th, the Mississippi Senate Study Group on Women, Children and Families will hold their second set of public meetings to hear from expert speakers on how the state can best support families. The study group, chaired by Senator Nicole Boyd, was appointed by Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision. The lawmakers are tasked with making legislative recommendations related to families and young children from birth to 3 years old.

Dr. Cathy Grace, co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning will be speaking for and representing childcare as Mississippi’s workforce support system on October 25, 2022.


• Promoting childcare teacher retention through a voluntary, lottery-funded wage supplement program,
• Removing the child support requirement from the Child Care Payment Program application,
• Reducing the annual cost of childcare for families through a refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit,
• Transferring the maximum amount of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars allowed to
increase funding to childcare assistance for eligible families.





It was first called QRS (Quality Rating System).

When that failed, it was renamed QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System).

Because QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) has been ineffective, today’s buzz is QSS (Quality Support System).

A well-deserved explanation for you – Early Learning Nation recently acknowledged the following:

While nobody opposes quality per se, the pandemic and the reckoning over racial equity have raised urgent new questions about QRIS. Are the criteria fair and equitable? Do the systems succeed in expanding transparency and accountability? Can the flaws be remedied? Or is it time to admit defeat?

According to Kelly Etter, Ph.D., vice president of Early Childhood Equity Initiatives with the Policy Equity Group, evidence is mounting that this supposedly evidence-based approach to the early education classroom experience is, at best, ineffective—and in many cases it may be racist and destructive.

Across the nation, some states heavily invested in QRIS are now attempting to salvage what they can of their financial investment in QRIS.

National consultants, perhaps heavily enmeshed in the big business of QRIS, are being hired to guide states through a process of “rebuilding” QRIS.

To better understand the process many states are engaging in, see four short videos in a series titled, “Knocking it Down and Rebuilding QRIS”. (Click here to view.)

Today in Mississippi, through town hall meetings and surveys, non-profits, advocates, policy makers and stakeholders are now asking you what you think a single Quality Support System for all early learning programs should look like.

While you may see positive steps taken to address equity and a fairer, more just method of observation and evaluation (the awarding of stars, levels, badges, etc.) than in previous versions of QRIS, there is little or no discussion in this process regarding the serious concerns for equality in funding streams that make sustained and equitable achievements possible.

We already know firsthand that addressing CCDF policies will bring about more stability in CCPP funding and strengthen child care programs and therefore, should be part of any agenda for CCPP providers when giving suggestions for “one quality system for all”.

We saw immediate improvements in learning environments through national and state recommendations to provide a higher rate of fees, to waive parental co-pay, to reimburse full payment for full time enrollment and more at the start of the pandemic.

National and state policy makers, advocates, and stakeholders quickly defined exactly what policies were needed to make child care viable and capable of working successfully early on in the crisis.

They knew what was needed then… and they know now!

Child care is still healing – we are not out of the woods yet. With elementary schools and Head Start once again holding in person classes, child care is working hard to rebuild enrollment (our funding stream).

Given the recent national consensus of underfunded child care at the basis of Build Back Better, I feel a comprehensive approach which includes funding policy and funding disparities discussions should be in the scope of development of every single quality measure recommendation for all early learning programs going forward. (The underfunded question of child care and high-quality is not resolved – Build Back Better failed.)

High quality child care is expensive. It has been said the business of child care is not a dilemma, but a trilemma — between cost to centers, student access and teacher compensation.

Dr. Cathy Grace,

I have often heard that child care providers just need business advisors and shared purchase power – good suggestions and helpful – but not even close when resolving to redress the huge disparities among funding streams expected to equally fund and sustain the same stringent requirements set forth in the ITERS and ECERS scoring scale for high-quality programs.

Is fair and effective change even possible for all programs in this environment?

Can QRIS really be “fixed” in a piecemeal fashion?

What do you want your program to look like in a single Quality Support System post-pandemic?

How do you want your program and business investment to be “marketed” to parents and the public at large through a single Quality Support System? (Positive marketing is how we secure our funding stream.)

What will be required for a CCPP program to be successful among all early learning programs regardless of inadequate or unstable funding that wasn’t addressed in well over a decade of dismal quality initiatives in Mississippi?

If stakeholders, advocates, early learning professionals and ideologists driving a single preference in the development of a quality initiative for all programs get it wrong again, who has the most to lose personally?

Who will suffer the greatest stigma and harm? Mississippi’s workforce support system? CCPP providers?

Are quality options available that may be valid, less costly for successful provider participation than previous Mississippi models and more favorable to child outcomes? (MDE Early Childhood Education is offering training in the CLASS assessment tool.)

As decisions for quality are being made, it is necessary for us – the business community – to have invited and thorough conversation with our funding partner – MDHS.

The good news: I do not believe it is in the best interest of MDHS or workforce development to adopt potentially disparate, high risk, or destructive (underfunded and punitive) accountability measures for its own CCPP program.

If we succeed in “high-quality” and good child outcomes, then MDHS succeeds!

So, join me and other small business and CCPP providers at the MDHS town hall on August 30, 2022, from 6PM to 8PM, 114A Second Street in Indianola. (Click here for more info.)

Hurry there, y’all!

We are running out of acronyms for “quality” initiatives!

MDHS “Quality Supports” Town Hall August 30th, 6 PM – 8 PM, in Indianola

DECCD will be hosting a series of face-to-face town hall meetings across the state to hear from child care providers about the current quality support system in Mississippi and how we can make it better together!  The fourth Town Hall Meeting will take place August 30th, 2022 from 6:00 p.m.-8: 00 p.m. at 114A Second Street Indianola, MS 38751 Delta Health Alliance IPC Training Room.   

Make plans to attend and lend your voice!

CONFUSING – There are Two Different Surveys

I have received many phone calls today regarding the request to complete yet another survey on a QSS (Quality Support System).

Yes – you have likely already completed a survey on quality that you received from MDHS which most submitted last month.

MDHS did receive it.

The request today is not from MDHS. (Read all Email carefully.)

The request you are receiving today is from MELA – the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance which is partnering with other non-profits to present recommendations of a modified Q.R.I.S. to MDHS for consideration.

Certainly, you may and should submit your comments and concerns for resurrecting a Quality Stars of sorts to MELA if you wish.

However, if you wish or prefer to complete the official survey for MDHS to consider new and affordable options for supporting quality and have not done so, please also click on this link: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/3a1307a985eb44e3a3739313ff03e7b0

In addition, MDHS will be holding townhalls throughout the state to take your comments in person so watch for official Emails from DECCD (Chad).

I know it is confusing.

Do both.

Hang in there!


The Division of Early Childhood Care & Development with the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) wishes to have our (child care providers) input into the quality supports we would wish to have them offer us in place of (doing away with, once and for all,) the flawed Stars rating system, the SECAC model of undisclosed evaluation scales and all bad faith program abuse and industry wide stigma thrust upon us through technical assistance in the past.

MDHS is offering official Town Hall meetings which afford us the opportunity to place our comments into the record and to offer state policy makers insight and new perspectives which may actually, really improve center environments and child outcomes. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Town Hall meetings have already been held in Jackson and other areas and will soon be offered in North Mississippi, the Mississippi Delta, the Golden Triangle Area and in the Pine Belt Area so you may wish to choose the Town Hall to be held closest to you, or you may travel if you wish as well!

In addition to that, several weeks back, MDHS sent us an Email providing a survey for us to complete which has allowed additional opportunity for every individual provider to lend input into the designwhich will largely impact the future of early care and development in Mississippi. If you have not completed the MDHS survey on quality support, you may do so now by following this link:


It took me about five minutes to complete, if that, and I appreciated the effort of the lead agency to offer opportunity for official input – I hope you will agree and do the same. This is your chance to speak directly to DECCD and they do want to hear from you! (The information you give will be confidential, so please be honest – y’all all know that I am extremely opposed to past models and DECCD is receptive to my concerns without display of superiority or judgement and they will be just as receptive with you!) 

In the meantime, there will be a Town Hall meeting Tuesday evening in the Tupelo are from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM so make plans today to attend.

See the information below.

North MS Child Care Resource and Referral Center Open House!

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

2 PM – 7 PM

Ole Miss

Angry Leadership is Punishingly Hard and Often Ineffective

The judgment arrived at by early learning professionals and many in the business community following a May 19, 2022, Legislative Hearing on child care is that it is a mistake for Bob Anderson to frustrate a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring about quality building and the stablization of Mississippi’s workforce support system with an overbearing personal desire to begin to carefully scrutinize current MDHS spending by child care providers as soon as possible to demonstrate there is no MDHS tolerance for corruption in the administration of federal funds today!

Knowledgable and qualified early learning professionals with the Division of Early Care and Development at MDHS were present but did not speak at the hearing.

However, if I know them as I think I do, I feel they would agree not enough time is being given to make the very best use of American Rescue Plan Act (Child Care Strong) funds on behalf of Mississippi’s young children and working parents.

I feel they have likely recognized ongoing supply chain shortages, limited contractors in rural areas working on a first come, first serve basis (as others wait in line), tremendous weather delays this Spring and the burden placed upon squeezed licensing officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health to approve all repairs before such expenditures will be approved for payment.

I feel they would be the first to admit failures of the agency in the process of reporting Booster Shot spending are corrected for the required American Rescue Plan Act (Child Care Strong) spending providers must NOW REPORT EACH MONTH in order to continue to be funded for the full amount of the stabilization award.

I feel DECCD would wish providers to have the resources on hand that may be needed when a HHS required quality system is finally decided upon and put into place in the months to come to expand access to high-quality child care and preserve the economic infrastructure of communities. (“Research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns over the long term.”)

I feel they would recognize that even the Governor’s wife has taken early learning as an interest, written a children’s book and selected MSU Social Sciences to write and develop an early learning curriculum which may be completed over the next two years. (Thoughtful work takes time.)

They might even report that the newly refurbished Resource and Referral Center from which Elee Reeves launched her early learning campaign took more than six months from conception to completion.

In light of Mr. Anderson’s war against corruption, I feel all citizens of this state might agree that his response to requests for further American Rescue Plan Act (Child Care Strong) technical assistance was rude and inappropriate. However you break it down, ‘can’t take providers by the hand’ is an alienating and hostile choice of words to use when speaking in the presence of essential workers.

“The wellbeing of caregivers is also important to stabilizing the child care sector because the mental health and wellbeing of staff impacts training, recruitment, and retention as well as the level of care provided to children.” Louisiana

I wish I could take Mr. Anderson by the hand and tell him how much we appreciate his ongoing investigations of corruption and the misspending of federal block grants by the previous administration.

I wish I could convey once more how wonderful I thought he was to lead an increase of cash assistance to the poor. He was the first MDHS Executive Director to do that to my knowledge.

I wish I could tell him how grateful I have been to him, Vicki and DECCD Directors for providing equitable opportunity (Well Done, MDHS!) to stabilize my business and strive to improve quality. It is life-changing.

I wish I could ask him to reconsider his decision to rush the efforts to build a much needed quality early learning system in Mississippi child care over the coming months.

I wish I could say that he should allow DECCD early learning professionals to lead and advise this effort.

I wish I could tell him how much his staff received in the way of sound advice and support through a COVID-19 Task Force and how beneficial it was to the agency and state.

I wish I could show him the timelines set in other states whose leadership is not emotionally overburdened by charges of previous adminitrative misspending and the embezzlement of block grant money. (See below.)

I wish I could tell him that he misses the point – the purpose of the American Rescue Plan Act (Child Care Strong) is to provide immediate and longer term stabilization to transform the still recovering child care industry – not the chaos in his office he described in closing out grants although, in this case, funding was made available to reduce that too.

I wish I could tell him that under the circumstances, stubborn ill-temperant from any agency appointee will do little to change the narrative of mistrust and doubt that surrounds MDHS today no matter if the providers and advocates raising questions are Black, White, Democrat or Republican and as you will see below, did not change the narrative from negative to positive in Y’all Politics or Mississippi Today.

Quite the contrary, such conduct led to renewed calls for transparency about $133 million in 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funds that were not spent according to the submitted plan and for an independent, forensic audit of the Child Care Development Fund from 2014 through 2018 during which time there was no new enrollment allowed for child care assistance and the number of children served was reduced by 50%.

In closing, Mr. Anderson stated that he has an open door policy.

Even if I believed that, I would decline such a visit. I just don’t think he is reading or listening to the experts at this time.

American Rescue Plan Act Deadline for Spending Funds in Southern States Not Under Investigation for Embezzlement and Misspending

Alabama – Ending in September 2023.

Arkansas – September 30, 2023.

Florida – Funds must be expended no later than September 30, 2023.

Georgia – Spend 100% of funds received by no later than June 30th, 2024.

Tennessee – The funds must be spent by no later than September 30, 2023.

Texas – Expended no later than June 30, 2023.

West Virginia – Utilized for on or before December 31, 2023.

Mr. Anderson’s Deadline

Mississippi – September 30, 2022

Welfare agency says it can’t ‘take providers by the hand’ to ensure proper spending of $354M in child care funds on tight deadline

Mississippi Department of Human Services, still reeling from a $77 million scandal, has built in more time for itself to conduct grant close-out accounting on hundreds of millions of child care dollars than it has given child care providers time to spend the money.

Private child care providers across Mississippi are scrambling to spend around $150 million, the remainder of their federal stabilization funds, in the next four months. (Click here to read the full article by Anna Wolfe in Mississippi Today.)

MS House Democratic Caucus holds hearing on federal funding for childcare stabilization

“As a legislative body, we have a duty to ensure that these funds are used efficiently and effectively,” a pamphlet handed out at the hearing stated. “The child care sector largely consists of small businesses run by Black women. As a member of the legislative Black caucus, we have an additional interest in representing the interests of our constituents.”

These funds have been controlled by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), which has been involved in a scandal regarding Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds that were misused and stolen from Mississippi families living below the poverty line.

“We believe it is necessary to ask for transparency so that we can provide proper legislative oversight,” the pamphlet continued.

“We are asking for the department to provide its justification for this discrepancy between the state and federal spending deadlines,” the pamphlet stated. (Click here to read the full article by Anne Summerhays of Y’all Politics.)