Early Childhood Capitol Day

Help us shift the early childhood landscape through policy change.

Capitol Day 2023: Power the Future by Strengthening the Workforce

Join us for Early Childhood Capitol Day! This is the fourth annual Early Childhood Capitol Day, but the first in-person one since 2020. We’re excited to engage with legislators and early childhood partners face-to-face again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
2:00pm – 4:30pm: Mississippi State Capitol Building (Rotunda)
5:00 – 6:30 pm: Networking reception at the
Old Capitol Inn.

This year’s Capitol Day will focus on the critical role that childcare and other supports for working families play in sustaining Mississippi’s workforce and overall economy. During Capitol Day, attendees will have a chance to educate legislators about specific policy recommendations that can help us begin to tackle the following goals:

  • Increase access to affordable childcare.
  • Resolve the childcare staffing shortage.
  • Establish childcare as a stable, competitive, and respected career field. 
  • Improve health, academic, and economic outcomes through early education programs.
  • Strengthen Mississippi’s economy by supporting the workforce and reducing revenue lost due to childcare gaps.

Resources from Previous Capitol Days

Capitol Day 2022 Videos

Childcare Issues & Opportunities in Mississippi

One of our goals for our 2022 Capitol Day was to highlight childcare issues and opportunities in Mississippi, and to engage with legislators around these topics. Of course, we at MELA recognize that childcare providers don’t need us to speak for them, so we recorded interviews with several childcare providers and early childhood professionals in order to amplify their voices and perspectives.

The video explores several key topics with childcare providers across the state, including:

  • The critical importance of education-focused childcare for young children (starting with children ages 0-3)
  • The potential benefits of integrating childcare with existing programs and infrastructure, such as the Early Learning Collaboratives
  • The challenges of giving educators the resources and compensation they need while maintaining affordable rates for families
  • The ways that providers are stepping up to meet the needs of Mississippi children and families, despite various challenges

We created this video for use with Mississippi legislators, in conjunction with our 2022 Early Childhood Development Capitol Day. However, Mississippi parents’ ability to find and afford consistent, education-focused childcare affects us all – from parents to teachers to business owners and more. Watch the video below to learn more!

Mississippi Legislator Panel

MELA pre-recorded a panel with Mississippi legislators to get their thoughts on several key topics within early education and childcare. Our panel features Representative Kent McCarty and Representative John Hines. Representative McCarty serves District 101 (Lamar county), and was selected because of his position as Vice Chairman of the House Education Committee. Representative Hines serves district 50 (Bolivar, Issaquena, Washington), and was selected for his membership in the House Public Health and Human Services committee. The questions we asked our panel members are designed to reference our Childcare Issues & Opportunities video, as well as feedback and questions we’ve heard from childcare providers and early childhood advocates across the state.

Key Resources from Breakout Sessions

Find key resources that were shared in each of our Capitol Day 2022 breakout sessions in the table below.

Session NameHost OrganizationKey Resources
Making the Child Care Payment Program Work Better for Families and ProvidersMississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI)> Connect with MLICCI and follow their work: mschildcare.org 
> Join the MLICCI Child Care Leadership Team (CCLT), sign up for newsletters, and get their advocacy toolkit here.
> Refer moms who need a pathway to higher wages and affordable child care to apply for MLICCI’s Employment Equity for Single Moms program.
> Explore MLICCI’s policy-focused analyses & reports.
Project ECHO for Childcare Providers: Connecting Childcare Providers with Child Health & Development SpecialistsGraduate Center for the Study of Early Learning and the MSU Social Science Research Center> Learn more about the Project ECHO model
Power and Potential: Advancing Afterschool and Summer Programs in MississippiMississippi Statewide Afterschool Network (MSAN)> Find an afterschool or summer learning program MSAN’s interactive map. To add your program, scroll down to “Register Your Program.”
> Enter your email on MSAN’s homepage to subscribe to “Mississippi in your inbox” newsletter.
> Use MSAN’s interactive data dashboard to explore how these programs are meeting the needs of youth in Mississippi, and determine where gaps remain.
> Find resources for school & community partnerships, funding, tips & resources for families, and more on MSAN’s website, or submit your own resource.
Obesity Prevention in the Early Care & Education SettingMississippi Farm to School Network> Learn more about the Farm to Early Care and Education movement.
> Learn more about GO NAPSACC, a research-based online platform to help childcare providers build healthy eating and physical activity habits in the children they care for.
> Download the GO NAPSACC flyer.
Maximizing Your Child Care Strong Stabilization Grant SpendingLoving Hands Educational Services> Official Child Care Strong Grant Webpage
> Webinar: Child Care Strong Grant Money – Planning to Spend
> Email the Mississippi Department of Human Services with specific questions at Childcarestrong@mdhs.ms.gov
> Additional resources & handouts (scroll to “Child Care Strong Grant Planning to Spend Training”)
Childcare Policy in Mississippi 101: Mississippi State-level PolicyMississippi State University Social Sciences Research Center & MSU-Meridian Division of Education> Flowchart: How a Bill Becomes Law in Mississippi
> Download the presentation slides
> Information about the Mississippi Education Policy Fellowship Program
> Keep up with Mississippi SECAC, a council tasked with advising the Governor on issues related to early childhood care & education. SECAC hosts bimonthly public meetings.
Federal Childcare Policy & Federal Relief for ChildcareChild Care Aware of America> Build Back Better Act Advocacy Toolkit
> Responses to Tough Questions about the Build Back Better Act
> American Rescue Plan Act Webpage: (includes the ARPA Implementation Tracker, Tips for Advocating for Federal Relief Funding, Best Practices Checklist for Child Care Advocates, Talking Points for Responding to Pushback, and more)

We’re proud of our Capitol Day tradition.

Check out these photos from our 2021 Virtual Capitol day!

Photos from 2020 Early Childhood Development Capitol Day

About 30 Mississippi Early Childhood health, development, and educational organizations joined us for the Inaugural Capitol Day.
Check out our photos from this year’s event below.