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Division of Child Care & Early Childhood Education


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 early childhood and child care services to low-income families and those who are moving from welfare to work. Through the licensing and accreditation unit, the Division also works to ensure that child care centers and family child care homes meet state minimum licensing standards and supports programs that voluntarily want to achieve higher-quality standards. The Division, working with the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission, adopted the following mission statement: As good stewards of the public trust, the Early Childhood Commission 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.


March 25, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is closely monitoring the situation related to the coronavirus, or COVID-19. There are currently confirmed cases in Arkansas, and we at the Department of Human Services (DHS) are taking the situation very seriously.

To provide you with more information about the COVID-19 public health crisis and to answer and child care questions you may have, a weekly call has been set up. The first meeting will be Tuesday March 31, 2020.  Call the phone number and ID below to enter the meeting.

Phone Number: 1-774-220-4000 - ID: 604-7164

Child Care Guidance from the Department of Health - March 21, 2020

You may be aware that Governor Hutchinson announced statewide school closures beginning this week through April 17 which includes school districts that operate Arkansas Better Chance.  For licensed child care and early childhood education programs not operated or administered  by a school district, there is no new guidance from the AR Department of Health advising DCCECE to close licensed programs.  If DCCECE receives notice that child care and early childhood education programs should close, we will notify programs immediately.  Programs may choose to close voluntarily.  Please continue to monitor for updates and follow the normal protocols regarding hand washing and sanitizing to keep children and staff safe.  

Background Checks
We understand that providers are not currently set up to enter background checks through the INA Portal to access the Live Scan process.  Background checks for newly hired staff will need to be submitted directly to the Background Check Unit.  The Background Check Unit is working quickly to process these and get results back to you timely. You may access the forms here:

  1. Arkansas Criminal Record Background Check Form:   https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/dccece/2019_CRIMINAL_REQUEST.pdf
  2. 2019 FBI Criminal Record Background Check Form:   https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/dccece/2019FBI_REQUEST.pdf
  3. Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central Registry Form: https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/dccece/2019_CHILD_MALTREATMENT_REQUEST.pdf

The Executive Order regarding staff/child ratios pertains to school age license types only.  This is for ages 5-12 in Child Care Centers or Out of School Time programs.  If you have a school age room, the 1:18 ratio is being expanded to 1:22 for the next 30 days.  Child Care Family Homes will not be able to increase their capacity, due to fire codes. 

Please do not hesitate to contact your local Licensing Specialist with any questions. 

 It is important that you and your staff continue to take steps to limit spreading of illnesses, including: 

You can find more guidance for childcare centers from the CDC, including operational tips and checklists and thoughts to keep in mind, on its website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

You can also visit the Arkansas Department of Health for additional information: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus


Resource for Parents

DHS's Response to COVID-19 for Clients


The Department of Human Services/Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DHS/DCCECE) has applied for four waivers from USDA.   DHS/DCCECE will provide an update on the approval process.  The four waivers are as follows:

  1.  A congregate feeding waiver for Summer Feeding Service Program (SFSP) that will allow approved SFSP to hand out meals at approved locations and the children to consume these meals off site for a limited time period. (THIS WAIVER HAS BEEN APPROVED);  Waiver Information
  2.  A waiver to allow programs approved for a meal pattern exception if  supplies are not available;                   Waiver Information
  3.  An Area Eligibility Waiver that would allow all schools, regardless of their free and reduced number, to be allowed to participate in SFSP during a limited time;  Waiver Information
  4.  A waiver to allow CACFP At-risk sites serve meals even with school not being in session and without an educational or enrichment activity. This will allow approved providers to hand out a meal for a limited time frame.  Waiver Information
  5. Arkansas DHS has requested a Meal Time waiver during the Coronavirus outbreak.  Waiver Information

Arkansas Children's Week 2020

Arkansas Children’s Week is April 13-17, 2020.  The theme this year is “Everyday Explorers.”  Attached you will find the Arkansas Children’s Week planning toolkit, the resource book, and the schedule for this year’s workshops. 

“Together, we will become a little better at observing children and talking with them to expand their learning. We will explore ideas for encouraging math and literacy in authentic and meaningful ways. We’ll think about how to plan projects and special experiences for children and connecting daily experiences with children learning goals and standards.”

Professional Development Registry

Did you know that the state offers free early childhood professional development throughout Arkansas? Join the Professional Development Registry (PDR) today at www.arkpdr.com to receive access to thousands of trainings.

Child Care Licensing Application Process

Individuals interested in applying for a license to provide child care in Arkansas may apply on-line or by submitting a paper application.  Please click the link below for more information on the licensing application process. 

Child Care Consumer Education

Please visit the following page to access our new Consumer Education page.

Arkansas Birth through Prekindergarten Teaching Credential

In 2009, Act 187 was passed to lay the foundation for the Arkansas Birth through Prekindergarten Teaching Credential. This credential creates an additional professional pathway for individuals seeking a more advanced level of knowledge and skills in working with young children and their families.

Infant/Toddler Certificate

The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) offers an Infant Toddler Certificate to support practitioners in acquiring skills and knowledge as part of a career pathway in the field of Infant and Toddler care.  The Infant Toddler Certificate contains three levels of training, foundation, intermediate, and advanced, for each practitioner to complete. Upon completion of all three levels, practitioners can expect to build their professional competencies in supporting a young child’s social-emotional, cognitive, language, and literacy development. The Infant Toddler Certificate provides a route to higher education for the preparation of all infant toddler teachers. This certificate will also prepare its recipients to educate children with special needs.

Professional development trainings are available on the PDR. If you cannot find a specific course, it may be one that is offered at another time during the year.  

Early Head Start Child Care Partnership

BehaviorHelp Requests

On July 1, 2016, the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education is implementing a new system called BehaviorHelp to assist you with behavioral challenges in young children. Click here to submit a request for support.  Please complete one request per child.  Once you submit your request, the DCCECE BehaviorHelp team will contact you as quickly as possible.  If you have not been contacted within 3 business days, please email behaviorhelp@dhs.arkansas.gov.

Programs and Services

Below you will find the programs and services offered by the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. Click the name for a link to additional information.



Contact Information

Office Address Phone Email
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education

700 Main Street Slot S-160
Little Rock, AR 72201-1473

Fax: 501-682-2317

Arkansas Better Chance

700 Main Street Slot S-160
Little Rock, AR 72203-1473

Fax: 501-683-0971

Child Care Assistance

700 Main Street Slot S-145
Little Rock, AR 72203-1473

Fax: 501-683-0034

Child Care Licensing

700 Main Street Slot S-150
Little Rock, AR 72203-1473

Fax: 501-682-2317

Health and Nutrition Program

700 Main Street Slot S-155
Little Rock, AR 72203-1473

Fax: 501-682-2334

Program and Professional Development

700 Main Street Slot S-140
Little Rock, AR 72203-1473

Fax: 501-682-4897

White County DCCECE office

2017 E. Race Ave
Searcy, AR 72143

Fax: 501-279-1386

Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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