The Mississippi Department of Human Services has joined with the Mississippi State Department of Health to provide much-needed childcare services for emergency and essential personnel who would otherwise not have access to it because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan (CCAIR) is designed to serve as temporary, emergency childcare facilities during this crisis period for families that include, but are not limited to, first responders, emergency personnel, emergency support personnel, essential government personnel, and health care professionals responding to public need who cannot isolate at home. These sites are not intended to last for extended periods of time. However, CCAIR sites will be required to meet basic health and safety requirements.

We have emergency and essential personnel risking their health and wellbeing every day to continue to provide the care and support we need to sustain our daily lives,” MDHS Executive Direct Robert G. “Bob” Anderson said. “They should not have the additional burden of finding both care and education for their children.”

“We recommend using your local established providers as the primary source for childcare. However, during times of crises, traditional providers may not be fully able to meet the need of the essential workforce. CCAIR was created to offer guidance for establishing temporary, emergency childcare in non-traditional settings,” MDHS Director of the Division of Early Childcare and Development Kristi McHale said.

McHale said the CCAIR would not be possible without the assistance of the following partners:

  • The development of the Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan is a collaboration of Mississippi’s childcare agencies and organization.
  • MDHS developed a set of guidelines and practices in partnership with the Mississippi State Department of Health that can help safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.
  • MDHS partnered with Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center to create the free, online CCAIR training video which offers policies and procedures that safeguard against the spread of COVD-19.
  • MDHS partnered with the Early Childhood Academy to provider CCAIR coaches to guide potential partners through the process of becoming a CCAIR sight, from training and site setup to inspection and registration of children.
  • Graphic artist Lauren Ingram from the Family and Children Research Units, Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University contributed her graphic design talents to create the CCAIR program’s logo and manual layout.

For those who need financial assistance, Emergency Certificates can be applied for. Applications for these certificates will begin being accepted on Wednesday, April 21.

There are steps that must be taken before being considered for certification as a CCAIR site.

  1. Contact the Mississippi Department of Human Services to request information, visit www.mdhs.ms.gov/ccair, or email ccair@mdhs.ms.gov for information about how to become a CCAIR site.
  2. Read the CCAIR manual located on the CCAIR website.
  3. Apply online as a CCAIR site.
  4. Complete requirements for all staff:
    • Criminal Background Checks

All staff must have the following criminal background checks before being allowed to work onsite:

1. In-State Criminal Registry Check

2. In-State Sex Offender Check

3. In-State Child Abuse and Neglect Check

4. National FBI Criminal Fingerprint search

5. National Criminal Information Center Search (NCIC)

6. National Sex Offender Registry Search (NSOR)

    • Staff Immunizations

All staff must have current MSDH Immunization 121 Form, or a waiver authorized by the Mississippi State Department of Health before being allowed to work onsite.

    • Health and Safety Training

All staff must complete a self-paced Health and Safety Training online (approximately one hour).

    • First Aid/CPR Certified

A minimum of one staff member who is First Aid/CPR certified must always be on site when children are present at the CCAIR site.

    • E-Ledger Training (ONLY required if the site accepts children with subsidy certificates) This training (approximately one hour) is only required for staff that are assigned to enter attendance online of children that have a subsidy certificate. Subsidy certificates could be either an emergency certificate or a certificate that was issued through regular application process and the parent works as essential personnel.
  1. Receive CCAIR site training. This free online training session will familiarize potential CCAIR providers with the CCAIR manual and all expectations and regulations associated with becoming a CCAIR site provider. CCAIR administration or the Site Coordinator must complete the online CCAIR training. One contact hour will be awarded upon completion of the training.
  2. Schedule a site inspection. The potential site will be inspected by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Be sure to have criminal background checks and immunization records for all staff.
  3. Sign the CCAIR attestation. The CCAIR attestation will be sent to the site representative for an electronic signature.
  4. Collect 121 immunization forms for children. All children must have current MSDH Immunization 121 Form, or waiver authorized by Mississippi State Department of Health before attending. Collect a copy of the form.

Neither MDHS nor MSDH will be responsible for funding or housing the CCAIR sites. The agencies will only provide guidance for the establishment and conduct of the sites.

“We obviously want to encourage everyone who can work from home to continue to shelter in place,” MDHS Executive Direct Robert G. “Bob” Anderson said. “But for those that cannot do so because they are deemed as “essential” personnel, it is crucial that support for these essential workers is provided, which includes daily care for their children.”

A list of currently licensed childcare providers and be found here.

For more information on the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the services they provide, go to https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/.

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Release from Mississippi Department of Human Services.