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State and Territory Profile

STATE/TERRITORY PROFILE - MISSISSIPPI

This profile highlights a current innovative effort to promote a subsidy system that is child-focused, family friendly, and fair to providers. It also provides demographic information, Early Care and Education (ECE) program participation and funding, subsidy innovation and program integrity information, program quality improvement activities, and professional development and workforce initiatives. Sources and links are provided at the end of the document

Demographics

Total Population 12 and Under
Total Population 12 and Under. Under 3-Years Old: Total 125257, Percentage 23; 3 and 4-Years Old: Total 85699 Percentage 16; 5 through 12-Years Old: Total 331566 Percentage 61
Source(s): U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). In American Community Survey, 2010. QT-P2 Single Years of Age and Sex. Retrieved from American FactFinder: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_SF1_QTP2&prodType=table
Children Living in Working Families
Children Living in Working Families: Children under 6-Years-Old Living in Working Families with one working parent 0.369651510972775 and with two working parents 0.330192860801387; Children Ages 6 to 17-Years Old Living in Working Families with one working parent 0.343209068309901 and with two working parents 0.363856320760332
Source(s): U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). In American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2019. B17024: Age By Ratio Of Income To Poverty Level In The Past 12 Months - Universe: Population for whom poverty status is determined. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=B17024&g=0100000US.04000.001&hidePreview=true&table=B17024&tid=ACSDT1Y2019.B17024&lastDisplayedRow=17&vintage=2019&mode=&y=2019
Poverty Statistics
Poverty Statistics: 0.504145897916686 are Under 6-Years Old and living Below 185% of Poverty; 0.309156780898718 are Under 6-Years Old and living Below 100% of Poverty; 0.482928036343487 are 6 to 17-Years Old and living Below 185% of Poverty; 0.268160110993143 are 6 to 17-Years Old and living Below 100% of Poverty
  Below 100% of Poverty Below 185% of Poverty
Under 6-Years Old 30.92% 50.41%
6 to 17-Years Old 26.82% 48.29%
Source(s): U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). In American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2019. C23008 Age of own Children under 18 Years in Families and Subfamilies by Living Arrangements by Employment Status of Parents: Universe: Own children under 18 years in families and subfamilies.
https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=C23008&g=&hidePreview=false&table=C23008&tid=ACSDT1Y2019.C23008&lastDisplayedRow=17&vintage=2019

ECE Program Participation and Funding

Percentage and Number of Children/Families Served
CCDF Average Monthly Percentage
of Children in Care By Age Group
CCDF Average Monthly Percentage<br>of Children in Care By Age Group. Under 3-Years Old: 26%; 3 and 4-Years Old: 25%; 5 through 12-Years Old: 48%
CCDF Average Monthly Number
of Children and Families Served
Average Monthly number of Children and Families Served: Children 20900 and Families 11900
Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care. (2020). FFY 2019 CCDF data tables [Preliminary estimates]. Table 9 Average Monthly Percentages of Children In Care By Age Group https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/data/fy-2019-preliminary-data-table-9
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care. (2020). FFY 2019 CCDF data tables [Preliminary estimates].Table 1 Average Monthly Adjusted Number of Families and Children Served.
    https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/data/fy-2019-preliminary-data-table-1
  • Average Monthly Percentages of Children Served in All Types of Care
    Licensed Providers
    Average Monthly Percentages of Children Served in All Types of Care - Licensed or Regulated Providers: Center 98%, Group Home 0%, Family Home 1%, Child's Home 1%
    Non-Licensed Providers
    Average Monthly Percentages of Children Served in All Types of Care - Legally Operating Without Regulations: Center 0%, Group Home 0%, Family Home 0%, Child's Home 0%
    Note: Unregulated provider data includes relative and non-relative care.
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care. (2020). FFY 2019 CCDF data tables [Preliminary estimates]. Table 6 Average Monthly
    https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/data/fy-2019-preliminary-data-table-6
    Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)
    • Total CCDF Expenditure (Including Quality):
    $74,477,298
    • CCDF Federal Expenditure:
    $67,157,588
    • CCDF State/Territory Expenditure:
    $7,319,710
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2020). CCDF Expenditures for FY 2018 (all appropriation years). Table 4a: All expenditures by State- Categorical Summary. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/fy-2018-ccdf-table-4a

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2020). CCDF Expenditures for FY 2018 (all appropriation years). Table 3a - All Expenditures by State – Detailed Summary. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/fy-2018-ccdf-table-3a
    CCDF Quality Expenditures
    • Total Quality Expenditure:
    $9,290,091
    • Quality Activities (Set Aside Funds):
    $688,138
    • Infant and Toddler (Targeted Funds):
    $1,420,124
    • Quality Expansion Funds (Targeted Funds):
    $129,196
    • School-Age/Resource and Referral (Targeted Funds):
    $7,052,633
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for Child Care
    • TANF – Total Child Care Expenditure:
    Not available
    Bullet icon TANF – Direct Expenditure on Child Care: Not available
    Bullet icon TANF – Transfer to CCDF: Not available
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. (2020). Fiscal Year 2019 TANF Financial Data. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/resource/tanf-financial-data-fy-2019
    ChildCare Tax Credits
    • Tax Credit Federal Total Amount Claimed:
    $609,340
    • Tax Credit Federal Number of Claims:
    357,260
    • State/Territory Tax Credit Available - 2015:
    No
    • State/Territory Tax Credit Refundable:
    No
    Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
    • CACFP Funding:
    $48,577,980
    • Number of Family Child Care Homes Participating:
    837
    • Number of Child Care Centers (includes Head Start Programs) Participating:
    816
    Source(s): Food Research and Action Center. (2020). State of the States: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in FY 2019. http://www.frac.org/maps/sos/tables/sos_tab_cacfp.html
    Head Start
    • Head Start Federal Allocation:
    $164,518,491
    • Head Start State/Territory Allocation:
    Not available
    • Number of Children Participating:
    19,661
    Source(s): National Institute for Early Education Research. (2020). The 2019 state of preschool yearbook. http://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks/2019-2
    IDEA Part B, Section 619
    • IDEA Part B Funding:
    $4,359,299
    • Number of Children Served (Ages 3- through 5-Years-Old):
    8,391
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Education. (2021). Fiscal Years 2019-2021 State Tables for the U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/index.html
    IDEA Part C
    • IDEA Part C Funding:
    $4,226,412
    • Number of Children Served (Ages Birth through 2-Years-Old):
    2,152
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Education. (2021). Fiscal Years 2019-2021 State Tables for the U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/index.html
    Pre-kindergarten
    • Pre-kindergarten Total Expenditure:
    $6,699,517
    • Enrollment (4-year-olds and under):
    3,064
    Note: Total Expenditure includes all State/Territory, Local, and Federal dollars. In addition to 3 and 4-year-olds, some Pre-kindergarten programs enroll children of other ages.
    Source(s): National Institute for Early Education Research. (2021). The 2020 state of preschool yearbook. https://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks/yearbook2020

    CCDF Subsidy Program Administration

    Family Percentile Recent MRS
    Income Eligibility at Determination
    (a) (b) (c) (d)
    Family Size100 % of SMI ($/Month) 85% of SMI($/Month)
    [Multiply(a) by 0.85]
    (IF APPLICABLE) ($/Month) Maximum Initial or First Tier Income Limit (or Threshold) if Lower Than 85% of Current SMI IF APPLICABLE) (% of SMI) [Divide(c) by (a), multiply by 100] Income Level if Lower Than 85% of Current SMI
    3 $4,283.00 $3,640.00 N/a N/A
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 3.1.3 Family Size of 3: Eligible Children and Families - Income Eligibility at Determination. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Approaches Used for Promoting Continuity of Care
    • Coordinating with Head Start, prekindergarten, or other early learning programs to create a package of arrangements that accommodates parents’ work schedules
    Not available
    • Inquiring about whether the child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP)
    Not available
    • Establishing minimum eligibility periods greater than 12 months
    Not available
    • Using cross-enrollment or referrals to other public benefits
    Yes
    • Working with IDEA Part B, Section 619 and Part C staff to explore how services included in a child’s IEP or IFSP can be supported and/or provided onsite and in collaboration with child care services
    Yes
    • Providing more intensive case management for families with children with multiple risk factors;
    Yes
    • Implementing policies and procedures that promote universal design to ensure that activities and environments are accessible to all children, including children with sensory, physical, or other disabilities
    Not available
    • Other:
    Described Below
    The Lead Agency plans to evaluate the possibility of coordinating with Head Start, prekindergarten, and other early learning programs to create a package of arrangement that accommodates parents’ work schedules and inquiring about whether the child has an Individualized Eduation Program (IEP) or Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP).
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Reports 3.1.6 and 3.1.6-2: Eligible Children and Families - Approaches Used for Promoting Continuity of Care. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Increasing Access for Vulnerable Children and Families
    Children with Special Needs
    • Prioritize for enrollment
    Yes
    • Serve without placing these populations on waiting lists
    Yes
    • Waive co-payments
    Not available
    • Pay higher rates for access to higher quality care
    Yes
    • Use grants or contracts to reserve slots for priority populations
    Not available
    • Other:
    Described Below
    Co-payments are reduced to no more that $10 per month.
    Families with Very Low Incomes
    • Prioritize for enrollment
    Yes
    • Serve without placing these populations on waiting lists
    Yes
    • Waive co-payments
    Not available
    • Pay higher rates for access to higher quality care
    Not available
    • Use grants or contracts to reserve slots for priority populations
    Not available
    • Other:
    Not available
    Not available
    Children Experiencing Homelessness
    • Prioritize for enrollment
    Yes
    • Serve without placing these populations on waiting lists
    Yes
    • Waive co-payments
    Yes
    • Pay higher rates for access to higher quality care
    Not available
    • Use grants or contracts to reserve slots for priority populations
    Not available
    • Other:
    Described Below
    Co-payments are reduced to no more than $10 per month or waived if homeless family has no income.
    Families Receiving TANF*
    • Prioritize for enrollment
    Yes
    • Serve without placing these populations on waiting lists
    Yes
    • Waive co-payments
    Yes
    • Pay higher rates for access to higher quality care
    Not available
    • Use grants or contracts to reserve slots for priority populations
    Not available
    • Other:
    Not available
    Not available
    * Includes families receiving TANF program funds, those transitioning off TANF through work activities, or those at risk of becoming dependent on TANF.
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Reports 3.2.2a, 3.2.2b, 3.2.2c, 3.2.2d, 3.2.2a-2, 3.2.2b-2, 3.2.2c-2, and 3.2.2d-2: Increasing Access for Vulnerable Children and Families. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Use of Grants or Contracts to Increase the Supply of Specific Types of Child Care
    • Programs to serve children with disabilities
    Yes
    • Programs to serve infants and toddlers
    Yes
    • Programs to serve school-age children
    Yes
    • Programs to serve children needing non-traditional hour care
    Yes
    • Programs to serve children experiencing homelessness
    Not available
    • Programs to serve children in underserved areas
    Yes
    • Programs that serve children with diverse linguistic or cultural backgrounds
    Not available
    • Programs that serve specific geographic areas (urban)
    Yes
    • Programs that serve specific geographic areas (rural)
    Yes
    • Other:
    Not available
    Not available
    Use of Grants or Contracts to Increase the Quality of Specific Types of Child Care
    • Programs to serve children with disabilities
    Yes
    • Programs to serve infants and toddlers
    Yes
    • Programs to serve school-age children
    Yes
    • Programs to serve children needing non-traditional hour care
    Yes
    • Programs to serve children experiencing homelessness
    Not available
    • Programs to serve children in underserved areas
    Yes
    • Programs that serve children with diverse linguistic or cultural backgrounds
    Not available
    • Programs that serve specific geographic areas (urban)
    Yes
    • Programs that serve specific geographic areas (rural)
    Yes
    • Other:
    Not available
    Not available
    Base payment rates and percentiles
    Age Center Percentile of most recent MRS Family Child Care Percentile of most recent MRS
    Infant $ 480.00/ month 75% $ 348.57/ month 75%
    Toddler $ 480.00/ month 75% $ 348.00/ month 75%
    Preschool $ 440.00/ month 75% $ 318.42/ month 75%
    School Age $ 400.00/ month 75% $ 292.74/ month 75%
    Effective date of payment rates: Updated payment rates were implemented 6/1/2018.
    Market rate survey (MRS) date: 10/30/2016
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 4.3.1: Setting Payment Rates. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 4.2.5a: Setting Payment Rates. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Tiered Reimbursement or Differential Rates
    • Differential rate for non-traditional hours. Describe
    Not available
    • Differential rate for children with special needs, as defined by the state/territory.
    Yes
    • Differential rate for infants and toddlers. Note: Do not check if the Lead Agency has a different base rate for infants/toddlers with no separate bonus or add-on
    Not available
    • Differential rate for school-age programs. Note: Do not check if the Lead Agency has a different base rate for school-age children with no separate bonus or add-on.
    Not available
    • Differential rate for higher quality, as defined by the state/territory.
    Yes
    • Other differential rates or tiered rates.
    Not available
    • Tiered or differential rates are not implemented.
    Not available
    CCDF Co-Payemts by Family Size
    CCDF Co-Payments by Family Size
    (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)
    Family Size Lowest “Entry” Income Level Where Family Is First Charged Co-Pay (Greater Than $0) What Is the Monthly Co-Payment for a Family of This Size Based on the Income Level in (a)? The Co-Payment in Column (b) is What Percentage of the Income in Column (a)? Highest “Entry” Income Level Before a Family Is No Longer Eligible What Is the Monthly Co-Payment for a Family of This Size Based on the Income Level in (d)? The Co-Payment in Column (e) is What Percentage of the Income in Column (d)?
    3 $0 - $999 $10.00  1-10% $43,999.00 $220.00 6
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 3.4.1a Family Size of 3: Family Contribution to Payment - CCDF Co-Payments by Family Size. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Family Contribution to Payment
    • No, the Lead Agency does not waive family contributions/co-payments.
    Not available
    • Yes, the Lead Agency waives family contributions/co-payments for families with an income at or below the Federal poverty level for families of the same size.
    Not available
    • Yes, the Lead Agency waives family contributions/co-payments for families who are receiving or needing to receive protective services, as determined by the Lead Agency for purposes of CCDF eligibility. Describe the policy and provide the policy citation..
    Not available
    • Describe contributions/co-payments for families who are receiving or needing to receive protective services
    Not available
    • Yes, the Lead Agency waives family contributions/co-payments for other criteria established by the Lead Agency. Describe the policy and provide the policy citation
    Yes
    • Describe contributions/co-payments for other criteria (See table below)
    Described Below
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and homeless families with no income.
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 3.4.4: Family Contribution to Payment - Family Contribution to Payment. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.

    Health and Safety

    Child-Staff Ratios by Group Size by Age of Children for Licensed Child Care Centers
    Age of Children Child-Staff Ratio Group Size
    Infant (11 months) 5:1 10
    Toddler (35 months) 12:1 14
    Preschool (59months) 14:1 14
    School-age (6 years) 20:1 20
    School-age (10 years and older) 25:1 25
    If any of the responses above are different for exempt child care centers, describe which requirements apply: Described Below
    Not applicable
    Source(s): National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2021). 2020 Child Care Licensing Study: Analysis of child care licensing regulations. [Unpublished data].

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 5.2.1a-5_6_7: Standards on ratios, group sizes, and qualifications for CCDF providers.– exempt child care centers. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.

    Quality Improvement

    Use of Quality Funds
    Yes/No CCDF Funds Other Funds Other (describe)
    Supporting the training and professional development of the child care workforce Yes Yes Not available Not available
    Developing, maintaining, or implementing early learning and developmental guidelines Yes Yes Yes Described Below
    Developing, implementing, or enhancing a tiered quality rating and improvement system Not available Not available Not available Not available
    Improving the supply and quality of child care services for infants and toddlers Yes Yes Yes Described Below
    Establishing or expanding a statewide system of CCR&R services Not available Not available Not available Not available
    Facilitating compliance with state/territory requirements for inspection, monitoring, training, and health and safety standards Yes Yes Yes Described Below
    Evaluating and assessing the quality and effectiveness of child care services within the state/territorys Not available Not available Not available Not available
    Supporting accreditation Not available Not available Not available Not available
    Supporting state/territory or local efforts to develop high-quality program standards relating to health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and physical development Yes Yes Not available Not available
    Other activities determined by the state/territory to improve the quality of child care services and which measurement of outcomes related to improved provider preparedness, child safety, child well-being, or kindergarten entry is possible Not available Not available Not available Not available
    Use of Quality Funds - Continued
    Other (describe)
    Supporting the training and professional development of the child care workforce Not available
    Developing, maintaining, or implementing early learning and developmental guidelines Mississippi Department of Education funding
    Developing, implementing, or enhancing a tiered quality rating and improvement system Not available
    Improving the supply and quality of child care services for infants and toddlers Mississippi Department of Health funding is used to provide Professional Development classes.
    Facilitating compliance with state/territory requirements for inspection, monitoring, training, and health and safety standards Misssissippi Department of Health funding
    Evaluating and assessing the quality and effectiveness of child care services within the state/territorys Not available
    Supporting accreditation Not available
    Supporting state/territory or local efforts to develop high-quality program standards relating to health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and physical development Not available
    Other activities determined by the state/territory to improve the quality of child care services and which measurement of outcomes related to improved provider preparedness, child safety, child well-being, or kindergarten entry is possible Not available
    Source(s):
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Reports 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-1: Use of Quality Funds - Supporting the training and professional development of the child care workforce. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-2: Use of Quality Funds - Developing, maintaining, or implementing early learning and developmental guidelines. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-3: Use of Quality Funds - Developing, implementing, or enhancing a tiered quality rating and improvement system. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-4: Use of Quality Funds - Improving the supply and quality of child care services for infants and toddlers. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-5: Use of Quality Funds - Establishing or expanding a statewide system of CCR&R services. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-6: Use of Quality Funds - Facilitating compliance with state/territory requirements for inspection, monitoring, training, and health and safety standards. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-7: Use of Quality Funds - Evaluating and assessing the quality and effectiveness of child care services within the state/territory. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-8: Use of Quality Funds - Supporting accreditation. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-9: Use of Quality Funds - Supporting state/territory or local efforts to develop high-quality program standards relating to health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and physical development. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 7.2.1 and 7.2.1-10: Use of Quality Funds - Other activities determined by the state/territory to improve the quality of child care services and which measurement of outcomes related to improved provider preparedness, child safety, child well-being, or kindergarten entry is possible. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Outreach to Families with Limited English Proficiency
    Application in other languages (application document, brochures, provider notices) Yes
    Informational materials in non-English languages Yes
    Website in non-English languages Yes
    Lead Agency accepts applications at local community-based locations Yes
    Bilingual caseworkers or translators available Yes
    Bilingual outreach workers Not available
    Partnerships with community-based organizations Yes
    Other Not available
    Describe Other Not available
    Not available
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 2.1.1-1 and 2.1.1-2: Outreach to Families with Limited English Proficiency - Strategies the Lead Agency or partners utilize to provide outreach and services to eligible families for whom English is not their first language. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Outreach to Families with a Person(s) with Disabilities
    Applications and public informational materials available in Braille and other communication formats for access by individuals with disabilities Not available
    Websites that are accessible (e.g., Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act) Yes
    Caseworkers with specialized training/experience in working with individuals with disabilities Yes
    Ensuring accessibility of environments and activities for all children Yes
    Partnerships with state and local programs and associations focused on disability-related topics and issues Yes
    Partnerships with parent associations, support groups, and parent-to-parent support groups, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) federally funded Parent Training and Information Centers Not available
    Partnerships with state and local IDEA Part B, Section 619 and Part C providers and agencies Yes
    Availability and/or access to specialized services (e.g., mental health, behavioral specialists, therapists) to address the needs of all children Yes
    Other Not available
    Describe Other Not available
    Not available
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 2.1.2-1 and 2.1.2-2: Outreach to Families with Limited English Proficiency - Strategies the Lead Agency or partners utilize to provide outreach and services to eligible families with a person(s) with a disability. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.
    Consumer Education Website
    How the Lead Agency ensures that its website is consumer-friendly and easily accessible The Lead Agency ensures its consumer education website is consumer-friendly and easily accessible through collaboration with a university research center engaged to design and maintain the site. The consumer education website is reviewed regularly by the Lead Agency to ensure it maintains appropriate levels of consumer-friendliness and accessibility. Wireframing and prototyping are integral parts of the design, planning, and testing phases of development to identify and minimize potential usability issues and to help ensure a high quality user experience. The Lead Agency helps ensure accessibility by making proper use of taglines, ensuring the site is intuitive to navigate, content is presented concisely and strategic use of visuals are made. The site is mobile compatible, loads quickly, and displays appropriately on multiple browsers. The site uses plain language (at a 6th grade reading level) and makes use of short, familiar words while limiting paragraphs to one idea/topic. Consumer education materials are divided into family-specific, provider-specific, and community-specific information, to make it easier for readers to navigate the site and find what they need. The consumer education website also includes alternate text for images, contrasting color schemes and other means to help ensure as wide an audience as possible can easily access information. Text is used for links rather than images, and black text is used against a white background with colorful “Parent”, “Provider”, and “Community” links to offer a contrasting color scheme on the website.
    How the website ensures the widest possible access to services for families that speak languages other than English The Lead Agency is exploring the option of offering a feature on the consumer education website to non-English speaking families to translate all information available into Spanish and/or Vietnamese, the two most common languages in the state after English. The Lead Agency is in the process of implementing user-friendly features on the consumer education website. These features will optimize the navigation experience of all site visitors (parents, providers, community), will increase the accessibility of English and non-English speakers, and will include:

    1. a Google plug-in translator for converting website information from English language into Spanish and/or Vietnamese, the two most common languages in the state after English;
    2. dubbing the informational video about the state strategic plan into Spanish and, also, offering the video with subtitles in Vietnamese;
    3. removal or repair of any broken links that may currently malfunction on the consumer education website;
    4. ADA compliant features, such as tagging images and videos.

    The planned release date for the new features is November 1, 2018.
    How the website ensures the widest possible access to services for persons with disabilities The website allows consumers to utilize browser-enabled assistive technology (e.g., zooming, adjusting color schemes, adjusting contrast settings, and changing font sizes). The informational video that describes the “Family-Based and Unified Integrated Early Childhood System” is closed captioned.
    Source(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2019). Report 2.3.1, 2.3.1, and 2.3.3: Consumer Education Website. ACF-118 Data Submission Center.

    Footnotes

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