Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on June 1, 2015. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Network celebrates quality in-home provider
BAY SPRINGS, Miss. -- When Hope James decided to stay home with her children and offer child care to parents in the Bay Springs area, she had no idea her decision would result in her business being recognized as one of the top in the state.
James, owner of Tot Shop of Bay Springs, recently received a 5-star rating from the Quality Rating and Improvement System. The evaluation is based on a national standard and scale, and James’s is one of the few centers in the state to achieve this level of quality.
Chrissie Ryals, a field technical assistant with the Mississippi State University Extension Service Family, Friend and Neighbor Care program who worked with James, stressed the need for child care in the area.
“Hope is providing a much-needed service in our community,” Ryals said. “Her dedication to providing the best quality in an in-home setting is admirable.”
Child care is a career change for James.
“I didn’t start out in child care,” James said. “I have a degree in finance, but this is where I feel I can do the most good.”
James says the main challenge of in-home care stems from the business angle.
“Things like insurance, hiring back-up and the cost of providing everything a quality facility should are more difficult for in-home providers with limited income,” she said. “The suggestions and training provided free of cost from the supportive, educated professionals with the network have really been great.”
MSU Extension’s Early Years Network provides training in business management, nutrition and safety and offers curriculum and resources to child care providers across the state.
“The free materials I earned have also helped me stretch my budget,” James said. “The suggestions from the network staff have helped me improve my quality; I have never felt like I was being told what to do, but I have felt encouraged and supported to try new things.”
James said she would encourage anyone thinking of enrolling in the program to try it.
“When it comes to improving the quality of care our children receive during the day, every bit of help is a good thing,” she said.
The Early Years Network is a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service and receives funding from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development to provide early care and education programs and materials for teachers, directors, children and families to improve the well-being of Mississippi’s children.