After more than a year’s delay, the Mississippi Department of Human Services is requiring that parents use a finger scanner to sign children in and out of federally subsidized child care.

The scanners will be required starting Oct. 1 for 18,000 children whose care is subsidized by federal grants. DHS has sent letters to child care centers in the last week notifying them of the deadline.

By then, parents and other caregivers will have to initially visit county DHS offices to have their fingers scanned into the system, or lose their subsidy.

The state expects to pay a unit of Xerox Corp. about $1.2 million a year to administer the program. The contract would pay the company up to $13 million over five years depending on how many children are getting vouchers, but numbers would have to increase to hit that ceiling.

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