Administrative Win for the Child Care Workforce

The state announced a big win last week for the early childhood workforce: a new assistance program that could help many of them afford child care themselves.

The Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood announced that the Department will begin offering child care assistance to the early childhood education workforce and adoptive parents who qualify for the program.

This means that if you’re an early childhood educator, you may now qualify for financial assistance for your own child care needs. And if you are a new adoptive parent, you may also qualify for this benefit for up to one year.

There are a few qualifications to be aware of if you’re a part of the early childhood education workforce. Parents must be working for a participating program or participating in education or job skills training for at least 30 hours per week. Your children also must attend one of the 1,400 child care programs participating in the Child Care Assistance Program.

This announcement puts Arkansas among a small number of states offering this benefit to the early childhood workforce and adoptive parents. We hope that this will make a huge difference in the lives of the early childhood education workforce. And we applaud Governor Sanders and her administration for taking these steps to support our state’s early childhood education system.

The system’s workforce faces severe turnover and recruitment issues. These educators are generally underpaid and overstretched. This new assistance could help with program quality and access to early childhood education, not just for child care workers but for all of us who depend on them.