Arkansas Better Chance Program

2016-17 ABC Grant Application

Which programs are eligible to apply?

ABC grant applications targets:

  • new programs;
  • existing programs interested in expanding the number of funded slots; and
  • ABC programs identified to compete.

Any early childhood program within the boundaries of Arkansas meeting the following criteria is eligible to apply for ABC funding:

  • Licensed as a child care center or family home with no formal corrective action/no history of founded complaints which pose an immediate risk to children within the previous 12 months before application OR make application as a home-visiting program (HIPPY or PAT) with the knowledge and support of the respective certifying office;
  • No outstanding financial obligation to the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) or Arkansas Department of Education (ADE);
  • Must have a “Better Beginnings - 1 Star (Level 1)” or preferably higher status;
  • Ability to provide 40% of program cost in matching funds (in-kind) [see Part G and H Finance Guide]; and
  • Plans to target and serve children in an identified “high need / underserved community” - such as serving children in a community identified through the Arkansas Department of Education as being Focus and/or Priority school, rural communities with limited access to pre-K services, and/or serving a specifically targeted population where data demonstrates that there are additional children in need of services.

DCCECE will determine the greatest needs in service areas, verify child care licensing, financial status and Better Beginnings level. 

What period of time does the grant cover?

Upon approval by the State Board of Education, grants will be awarded for a period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. All ABC grants must be renewed annually and are subject to re-competition.

When is the application deadline?

Applying agencies must submit completed applications electronically by Thursday, March 31, 2016 via email as an attached Word document to the following email address:

If unable to submit the application electronically, then three copies of the ABC Application must be hand delivered and received in the DHS Main office by Thursday, March 31, 2016.
Please note: admittance into the DHS Main Office located at 700 Main Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 closes by 5:00 p.m. each business day.

What if I have questions?

Questions may be submitted to the COPA Support email address at:

ABC Grant Application Bidder's Conference

The ABC Grant Application Bidder’s Conference will be held on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., to review the ABC Grant Application. The conference will be held in the DHS Donaghey Plaza South Building Conference Room, located at 700 Main Street, Little Rock.  This will provide an opportunity to receive guidance and make inquiries about completing the application. Please email Lynda Lee ( to register for the conference.

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2016-17 Grant Application PDF
2016-17 Grant Application Fillable Forms DOC
2016-17 Grant Application Budget and Justification Parts G and H XLS
2016-17 Grant Application Scoring Rubric PDF
2016-17 Grant Application Scoring Rubric Guide PDF


The Arkansas Better Chance program is funded through an appropriation in the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Public School Fund budget. ADE contracts with the DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education to administer the program. The Division is responsible for all operational duties associated with ABC. The State Board of Education is the final authority for approval of rules and grants. The Division gives regular reports and updates to the State Board of Education, as well as an annual report to the Joint Legislative Committee on Education.

Act 49

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Act 49 PDF

Revised ADE Rules

Attention: The ADE Rules Governing the Arkansas Better Chance Program have been revised and approved. The new Rules became effective October 26, 2012.

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Arkansas Department of Education Rules Governing the Arkansas Better Chance Program PDF

Pre-K Alignment with Common Core

The AR Framework Benchmark Summary Table has been revised to better align with national Common Core Standards that were adopted by Arkansas in July, 2010. Extensive research has taken place to assure that these standards are appropriate for developmental stages of pre-k children as well as aligned properly with the Common Core Standards. To obtain the first draft of the Arkansas Early Learning Standards for review, go to the Arkansas Head Start Collaboration Office website at

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Association of Measurements - The Correlation between Common Core and Early Head Start Requirements ​PDF


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ABC Longitudinal Study PDF
This report estimates the effects of the Arkansas Better Chance Program (ABC) on entering kindergartners' academic skills using a rigorous research design. Receptive vocabulary, early literacy and early math skills were assessed in a sample of 911 children from across Arkansas. We found that the Arkansas Better Chance Program has statistically significant and meaningful impacts on children’s early language, literacy and mathematical development.
Forms: Program, Budget/Finance, Child Record, COPA WEB
Additional Resources WEB