Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Arkansas Early Childhood Asset Map (AECAM) Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

State-university partnership data visualization tool

The Arkansas Early Childhood Asset Map, launched in 2020 by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, is a data visualization tool. It provides program information for public use on early childhood services as captured in the state’s annual “Getting Ready for School” publication. The map includes information on special nutrition programs, Arkansas Better Chance programs, Head Start programs, child care vouchers, and Better Beginnings programs. Supported by a state-university partnership, the map is housed at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and funded by the DHS.

Learn more: Arkansas Early Childhood Asset Map
Arkansas Better Chance Program Expansion Targeted Pre-K Policy (3-Year-Olds) Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)
  • Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled: 29%
  • Percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled: 17%
  • Hours of operation: 7 hrs/day; 5 days/wk

Created in 1991, the Arkansas Better Chance Program (ABC) provides targeted, high-quality care for children from birth to age five who exhibit developmental and/or socioeconomic risk factors. In 2003, this initiative expanded to include the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success (ABCSS), which folded in a set of legislation aiming to support 3- and 4-year-old children in households experiencing poverty (up to 200% of the federal poverty level.) ABC/ABCSS includes center-based programs, home visiting programs, and family child care programs. As of 2022, the program serves 29% of the state’s 4-year-olds and 17% of the state’s 3-year-olds.

Learn More: arkansas Better CHance Program

Arkansas Better Beginnings. (n.d.). Arkansas Better Chance.
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). Arkansas.
Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. (n.d.). Arkansas Better Chance Program.

Download This Table

Demographics Link copied!

State population

3,045,637 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

44.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

55.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

181,560 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

53% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$63,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

3.7% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

4% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

67% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

25% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Download This Chart

Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (1%)
  • Asian (2%)
  • Black or African American (18%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (13%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (1%)
  • Two or More Races (4%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (62%)
Download This Chart

Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name(s)

Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-year-olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Download This Chart

Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (17%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (9%)
  • Other/none (74%)
Download This Chart

Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (29%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (6%)
  • Other/none (65%)
Download This Chart

Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
Download This Chart

Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source: First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($102.4)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($88.2)
  • CCDBG State Match ($4.6)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($625.3)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($147.5)
  • MIECHV ($7.5)
  • IDEA Part C ($6.3)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($8.3)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($34.5)
Download This Chart

Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 90,000 children in Arkansas.