How to Apply for Child Care Assistance
Every year the State of Arkansas helps low-income families cover the cost of high-quality child care.
- work at least 30 hours a week?
- attend school full time?
- spend at least 30 hours a week in a job training program?
A combination of the above qualifications equal to at least 30 hours a week will be considered.
If the answer is “yes,” then you may qualify for child care financial assistance through the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF).
Please contact your local DHS office if you have received child care in the past. This will ensure that the caseworker will be able to assist you in the best way possible. If your caseworker has determined that you have not used all the child care months available, then he will provide the next steps for you.
If you have not received child care assistance in the past, you will need to request an application. You can have your caseworker send it to you by fax, mail, or email.
- Complete the entire application.
- If you do not complete the application, it may be denied.
- A valid email address is required.
- Keep a copy of your paperwork.
- Be patient. It takes time to process your information. If you have not heard back in 2 weeks, call your local DHS to verify they have received your materials.
If You Do Not Qualify
There may be other options that will help you receive financial assistance.
Contact your local DHS office and ask about other child care programs. Examples: Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA), Early Head Start, Head Start, Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program.
Contact your caseworker either by phone or email to ask why you did not qualify for assistance and what steps you need to take to qualify.
Selecting the Right Child Care Center
Every child deserves the best start in life which is why choosing high quality child care is important. Research shows that high quality early learning programs have a positive impact on a child’s readiness for school and life.
To help you make the right child care decision for you and your family, there are several resources available for you.
Find Child Care
Although a child care center may be close to home or work, you need to ask yourself if it is the right place for your child. Visit several centers and use the Child Care Checklist to discover how each center differs.
Child Care Aware of Arkansas helps parents and families find high-quality child care centers in their community and offers support and guidance. There are several of these agencies throughout the state.
For more information, visit Child Care Aware.
Better Beginnings connects Arkansas families with information and care that helps children experience a safe, happy, and healthy childhood. Each Better Beginnings facility in Arkansas has a 1, 2, or 3 star rating to indicate their level of quality.
For more information, visit Better Beginnings.
Find Your Center
For more information, visit Local Child Care Centers.
Arkansas’s child care programs can serve over 200,000 children.
Arkansas’s Total Child Care Slots
|Facility Type||Child Capacity|
|Child Care Centers||171,845|
|Out of School Time||26,297|
|Licensed Child Care Family Homes||3,666|
|Registered Child Care Family Homes||80|
The purpose of the Arkansas WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is to improve the nutrition of eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and young children during periods of critical growth.
Licensing and Safety
Licensing, Monitoring, and Inspections
Licensed child care facilities must meet specific guidelines to become certified. There are no licensed exempt facilities in Arkansas. All facilities that receive funding are either licensed or registered.
DHS Licensing Specialists will visit facilities and homes unannounced at least three times a year to ensure that each child care facility meets minimum licensing standards While onsite, they may interview and observe staff to determine their daily routine and effectiveness in age-appropriate instruction. Examples items Licensing Specialists may review:
Personnel Policies | Programs | Behavior Guidance | Records | Safety
Visit Better Beginnings and the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education to view facilities and reviews for the last three years.
Health and Safety Requirements
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 requires States and Territories to have professional development, health, and safety training requirements for all Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) providers. All new and existing providers who accept vouchers for reimbursement must meet the training requirements. Visit CCDBG Health & Safety requirements for more information or contact The Child Care Licensing Unit to learn more.
Website: Child Care Licensing
Early & Periodic Screening, Diagnostic & Treatment (EPSDT)
The Early & Periodic Screening, Diagnostic & Treatment (EPSDT) helps ensure that children and teens get preventative dental, mental health, and developmental screenings. It can also help identify any specialty services that may be needed.
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. However, if the child is under the age of 3, the provider should contact First Connections. If the child is 3-21 years of age, the provider should contact the Arkansas Department of Education Special Education Unit for assistance.
If a situation arises that you are unhappy with, it is important to calmly share those concerns with the person(s) who is causing you stress. Working things out, if possible, should be the first step. Keep in mind that changing child care facilities can be stressful on your child. However, if a resolution cannot be reached or a serious issue has occurred, you may contact DCCECE using the following link:
Child Abuse Hotline
The Arkansas Department of Human Services is committed to protecting those who are most vulnerable. If you suspect that a child is being abused based on something you have witnessed, or a child has told you that abuse is happening, it is your responsibility to report it to the authorities.
Call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-482-5964.
DCCECE strives to ensure that every child in Arkansas is in a high quality, safe, and loving environment. This is achieved by offering resources, technical assistance, and trainings for families and providers.
Child Deaths, Serious Injuries, and Substantiated Child Abuse 2019
|Providers||Child Deaths||Serious Injuries||Substantiated Cases of Child Maltreatment*||Total|
|Registered Child Care Family Home||0||0||0||0|
|Licensed Child Care Family Home||0||5||1||6|
|Child Care Center||1||186||27||214|
|Out of School Time||0||8||0||8|
*Substantiated instances of child abuse do not have to be separated by category of provider and licensing status.
Lead Agencies must provide CCDF parents with a consumer statement that contains specific information about the child care provider they select. This information about the child care provider selected by the parent includes health and safety requirements met by the provider, any licensing or regulatory requirements met by the provider, the date the provider was last inspected, any history of violations of these requirements, and any voluntary quality standards met by the provider. It must also describe how CCDF subsidies are designed to promote equal access, how to submit a complaint through a hotline, and how to contact local resource and referral agencies or other community-based supports that assist parents in finding and enrolling in quality child care.
If you have any questions about child care in Arkansas, please contact us. We will be happy to assist you.
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
PO Box 1437, Slot S145
Little Rock, AR 72203