For children and families to reach their fullest potential, every community needs a strong grid of resources . The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Arkansas communities hard. Before the current crisis, many communities were struggling to fill in their grids and build stronger connections between resources. The pandemic has weakened grids even further.  

The good news is nonprofits, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and governments are stepping in to provide an unprecedented, and much needed, level of resources. Last week Congress passed and the president signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Gov. Asa Hutchinson has provided steady leadership, announcing policy changes and relief measures to address the crisis almost daily. 

During this difficult time, AR-GLR will be publishing our newsletter weekly instead of monthly, sharing resources that families, businesses, nonprofits, and policymakers can use right now to shore up our collective community grids . We will provide details about how to apply for or access the resources made available by the CARES Act as its provisions are implemented, connect you with resources to keep children learning and engaged at home, make policy recommendations, and more.
Understanding Unemployment Benefits
Arkansas has waived the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance. For individuals who work at businesses that are temporarily closed, the state has also waived the requirement for seeking employment while receiving unemployment insurance. To apply for unemployment insurance, go the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services website .
The CARES Act will strengthen unemployment insurance provisions by: 

  • Increasing the weekly unemployment benefit by $600

  • Providing an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after state benefits are exhausted

  • Extending access to unemployment benefits to self-employed workers

We will share details on how to access these new benefits as they become available.
Arkansas Early Childhood Association Makes Recommendations to Governor 
This week, the Arkansas Early Childhood Association submitted the following recommendations to the Governor regarding child care during and after the current health care crisis: 

  • To help flatten the curve and save lives, Arkansas should join 15 other states in closing all licensed child care programs, with the exception of those serving essential personnel.

  • To ensure that the child care sector can meet the needs of families when the pandemic is over, the state should maintain the sector’s human, programmatic, and financial infrastructure during the crisis.

Read more about the recommendations here.  
Activities for Young Children at Home
Join the Curricula Concepts VIP Facebook group to access activities that can be done at home with young children. Activities shared in the group focus on language and literacy, health and wellness, and creativity.
Looking for more activities to do at home with young children? Join the Curricula Concepts VIP Facebook group! Activities shared in the group focus on language and literacy, health and wellness, and creativity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/658462278058075/?ref  
Looking for more activities to do at home with young children? Join the @CurrConcepts VIP Facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/658462278058075/?ref=share
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