Mississippi will receive $30 million over 3 years to improve access to high-quality early care and education programs.

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The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) has announced that Mississippi was recently awarded a Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B-5) Renewal totaling over $30 million, which will be disbursed over the next three years to improve access to high-quality early child care and education programs.

MDHS reports that the grant will allow for the creation of a new Quality Support System with input from parents and providers focused on strengthening family and provider input to ensure Mississippi’s early care and education system is more responsive to all children and families’ needs. It will also fund a new grant opportunity to address childcare deserts and explore public-private strategies in low income communities to increase compensation for early childhood and childcare workers, as well as creating new workforce recruitment pathways.

The PDG B-5 Grant is based on the strategic plan developed by the MDHS Division of Early Childhood Care and Development and other partners, including the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center, the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center.

The PDG Renewal Grant has eight main goals:

  1. Provide up-to-date information on the status of young children in Mississippi that can be used to inform decision-making at the state, community, and program levels, with an emphasis on improving capacity in rural communities.
  2. Create stronger community-level infrastructure for helping families learn about available early childhood programming, and for connecting families to the services they need.
  3. Expand efforts to engage with families, obtain information about their needs, inform them about child development, and connect them to beneficial services for their young children.
  4. Strengthen the early childhood workforce through a coherent set of professional development initiatives and by providing meaningful incentives to stay and grow in the field.
  5. Improve services for infants and toddlers for their first 5 years, and strengthen the transition into kindergarten.
  6. Build a stronger, more collaborative state system with updated governance and finance policies that support community-level leadership.
  7. Inform the Mississippi public about the importance of child development, the impact of the grant, and the state’s investment in early childhood.
  8. Evaluate results that inform continuous quality improvement.

How can you stay up-to-date on grant-related activities?

The MDHS Division of Early Childhood Care & Development and grant partners will be announcing activities associated with the PDG B5-R in upcoming meetings and via email. You may also want to bookmark and check the PDG B5-R webpage regularly to stay updated on all PDG B5-R related information.

MDHS will also host virtual information sessions regarding PDG B5-R activities. You can register for quarterly sessions and to listen to past sessions on this webpage – the next session will be on April 5th from 11:00am – 12:00pm.