Consumer Education

Choosing Quality Child Care and Early Childhood Education

Make the Right Decision

Every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why choosing high quality child care is so important. Caregivers in quality child care programs nurture children. They talk to them. They play and interact with them. Such high quality child care promotes all areas of child development.

Studies show that children in high quality child care are more likely to be ready for school. Their chances to succeed increase. Parents can be more focused on work when they know their children are safe. Parents, children and employers all benefit from high quality child care.

Tools to Help You Choose

Star Rating

The Better Beginnings star rating system can help parents make the right child care choice. Licensed facilities are star-rated like hotels and restaurants. A One Star facility meets Arkansas’s minimum child care requirements. A Three Star facility meets higher standards. Three stars is the highest star level. Child care providers volunteer to make quality improvements.  Visit for more info about Better Beginnings.

See star ratings when you search using the Find Child Care tool. Enter your zip code to locate child care near your home or work. Star ratings are shown for every licensed child care facility.

Choosing Child Care Checklist

Find the child care that is right for you and your child. Use our Choosing Child Care Checklist when you visit the facilities. This tool provides questions that help you score and compare facilities.

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Choosing Child Care Checklist (Online) WEB
Choosing Child Care Checklist (Paper) WEB

Arkansas Child Care Aware Resource & Referral Network

  • Works with parents, care providers, businesses, and community organizations to help make quality child care available
  • Provides parents with referrals and information on choosing quality care
  • Provides parents with resources on parenting issues
  • Offers training and support to providers

Please click the following link to find Arkansas Child Care Aware help in your area:

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Child Care Aware Agency Map PDF

Child Care Payment Help for Parents

Child care and early childhood education programs may be more affordable with help from:

  • Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Foster Care
  • Arkansas Better Chance
  • Arkansas Head Start
  • Individuals with Disabilities

Developmental Screenings

DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) works with the Department of Health to provide screenings that make sure that children and teens get preventive dental, mental health and developmental screenings and specialty services. The screenings are called Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment or EPSDT.

Child care facilities are required by The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to refer a child that may have developmental delays or disabilities to the right agency for help.

How Can the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education Help Me?

DHS DCCECE provides information to help parents make child care choices. Information parents might find useful includes:
  • Facility star rating
  • Process for licensing
  • Provider and client complaints
  • Annual data
  • Contact information
  • Facility inspections
  • State or provider actions to make corrections to policy
  • Health and safety rule or law breaking, including deaths and serious injuries

Provider Information

Find licensing requirements such as New Guidelines for Approved First Aid and CPR Training at