CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Some daycare providers have threatened shut down in protest after a technical issue caused them to miss low-income state assistance payments. The state says it has corrected the issue but some providers say they still haven’t been paid.
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Channel 2′s Tom Jones spoke with one parent whose 3 kids attend Ms. Pam’s Precious Angels Family Childcare Center in Clayton County. “Two weeks from now if this doesn’t work, everybody is in trouble,” Harry Jefferson said.
Jefferson says the state needs to fix whatever issues are preventing daycares from getting paid, and possibly having to shut down. “Not only does it put their livelihood in jeopardy but it puts our livelihood in jeopardy because if they can’t get funding then our kids have nowhere to go,” he said.
“This changeover is a mess,” said Tamarra Lewis Johnson, the owner of Ms. Pam’s Precious Angels Family Childcare Center.
She says she just received a payment after we aired a report about the issue. Before that Johnson said she had been waiting a month to receive funds from the state low-income assistance program called CAPS. She says the holiday season is the worst time to miss these payments.
“Because I can’t tell my workers that I can’t pay you your money” she pointed out.
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She says some daycare providers say they may have to close if this isn’t resolved soon.
A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning — or DECAL — says there was a technical issue when it changed the management of CAPS from a third-party vendor to DECAL. Reg Griffin says that delayed payments, but says it’s been corrected and checks were issued Friday.
Johnson was elated when hers finally showed up. But she says others are still waiting. Some providers posted on a state website that they all should shut down in protest.
“But if we close down what about the parents,” Johnson reasoned. Johnson says the answer is for the state to get everything worked out so everyone can be paid. “We’re supposed to be essential workers. Our parents need us.”
Spokesman Reg Griffin says the state apologizes for the inconvenience. He says there are 70,000 kids in the program and it was a monumental task changing over. For those still experiencing issues, Griffin provided these resources:
• To contact CAPS Provider Support for any reason, email us at CAPSProviderSupport@decal.ga.gov
• Our webpage, updated regularly, is a great resource accessible at: https://caps.decal.ga.gov/en/ProviderRelations/
• Providers may also call us at 1-833-4GACAPS (1-833-442-2277)
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