Arkansas citizens are healthy, safe and enjoy a high quality of life.
Together we improve the quality of life of all Arkansans by protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence and promoting better health.
DCCECE Mission Statement
As good stewards of the public trust, we will support and advise the Division by ensuring that all Arkansas children and families have access to a safe, high-quality, developmentally appropriate (nurturing learning) environment (and) by educating and assisting parents, child care providers, and communities to prepare our children for future success.
Act 1132 of 1997, established the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education within the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The purpose of the Division is to enhance the coordination of child care and early childhood education programs within the state. This coordination ensures a seamless delivery of service to low-income families and those who are moving from welfare to work.
The Division working with the Early Childhood Commission, adopted the following mission statement: The mission of the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission is "As good stewards of the public trust, we will support and advise the Division by ensuring that all Arkansas children and families have access to a safe, high-quality, developmentally appropriate (nurturing learning) environment (and) by educating and assisting parents, child care providers, and communities to prepare our children for future success."
The Division is comprised of six sections: one regulatory , one compliance, three programmatic and one administrative. The Division currently has 171 budgeted positions. The name of the sections and a brief description of their function follows:
Arkansas Better Chance Program
The Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program was created in 1991 to offer high quality early education services to children birth to five exhibiting developmental and socioeconomic risk factors. In 2003, the Arkansas General Assembly made a commitment to expand early childhood education funding by $100 million to serve low-income three and four-year old children with high quality pre-K services. This expansion, known as Arkansas Better Chance for School Success (ABCSS), has become the state prekindergarten program. ABC operates as a grant program. Participating providers must renew ABC grants annually.
Child Care Licensing and Accreditation
This is the largest section within the Division. Many of these positions are located in DHS county offices. Licensing specialist perform on site reviews of child care centers in addition to licensed homes and registered homes. This section is also responsible for maintaining the Criminal Records Check System (Act 1198 or 1997) in conjunction with the Arkansas State Police. This system checks the police record of all workers in child care centers or licensed homes.
Compliance and Integrity Unit
Works with the programmatic sections of the Division and other appropriate Divisions within the Department to coordinate and track issues dealing with provider fraud, overpayments and audits.
This section supports services to Temporary Employment Assistance (TEA), transitional, low-income working families and foster care children by providing subsidized child care services on a sliding fee basis. Child Care eligibility workers are located regionally across the state.
Special Nutrition Program
Comprised of four programs funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the state. These programs reimburse sponsors for meals and snacks served at approved feeding sites. The programs are the Child & Adult Care Food Program, the Summer food Service Program for Children, Special Milk and National School Lunch.
This section provides a multitude of diverse services designed to improve the quantity and quality of child care services within the state and is the major outreach section of the division. These services blend funds from state and federal sources.
A listing of these services follow:
The creation of the Division consolidated three (3) existing boards into one. The affected boards were the Child Care Facility Review Board, the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission and the Child Care Provider Training Committee. These review boards were consolidated into a new Arkansas Early Childhood Commission that advises the Division and has regulatory approval for all minimum licensing standards.
Act 1132 was amended in 1999 in order to establish the Child Care Appeal Review Committee. This panel reviews appealed adverse action taken by the Child Care Licensing Section against a child care provider and hears any unresolved disputes between that Section and the child care providers regarding: 1) substantial compliance with the published standards; 2) founded licensing complain; 3) denial of alternative compliance request.
Act 1264 of 2001, that regulates the Transitional Employment Assistance Program had included language in Section 1,H,22,B that authorized the TEA Board to oversee a spending cap on subsidized child care for low-income working families to ensure that those families transitioning from welfare to the workplace.
Providers, staff and above all families have benefited from these efforts to consolidate and streamline existing administrative functions within the Division.