Group seeks $5M to continue child care work

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — A private group is asking the state for $5 million to continue efforts to improve child care and education for preschool children.

Mississippi Building Blocks works to make preschoolers ready for kindergarten by training preschool teachers and helping child care operators.

The group has used $7 million in private money to run its program for four years, but says it’s time for the state to contribute public funds. Pointing to a University of Missouri study showing its work provides a boost in school readiness, Mississippi Building Blocks leaders urged lawmakers in a Tuesday news conference to approve funding.

Mississippi currently spends state money to match federal grants subsidizing child care for poor children. Besides Building Blocks, the state Department of Education is also seeking $2.5 million for its own program.