Arkansas Early Childhood Association and other statewide organizations including the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading called on
the state government to provide immediate support to Arkansas's child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, more than half of the state's providers remain open. However, many face permanent closures due to declining enrollment and lack of essential cleaning and medical supplies.
The coalition is asking the government to:
- Coordinate access to limited Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)-required supplies (e.g., cleaning products, thermometers) to keep workers and the children they serve safe
- Ease the process for programs to purchase essential food items at grocery stores
- Support existing programs instead of pop-up child care in the private industry
- Provide financial supports to licensed providers to meet current ADH/DHS guidelines on group size and/or reductions in enrollment
- Implement a grant or loan program, managed by Community Development Financial Institutions, with $10,000 available per licensed provider to reopen or meet shortfalls caused by drops in attendance