HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) - There will soon be a new option for affordable childcare in Sharp County.
The Northcentral Arkansas Development Council has already opened an Early Headstart program in Batesville and Mountain View.
"Some funds came open now two years ago so we applied for them," NADC Executive Director Charlie Morris said. "We went through a pretty lengthy application process. Then we got awarded."
There was enough funding for 80 slots in total.
Currently, there are 32 spots in Batesville and 16 used in Mountain View.
They are expanding those services to Highland.
Sharp County was flagged as a high priority for Headstart and Early Headstart because of the poverty rate in the county, specifically in the Ash Flat zip code.
"It was about a 36% poverty rate in that zip code," Morris said.
There will be 32 spots opened in that new facility, which is on Highway 62/412.
The Early Headstart services are completely free for qualifying families.
"And plus it gives them the opportunity since they've got childcare, to go out and pursue jobs as well because a lot of time people are staying home to take care of their children because they can't afford childcare," Morris said. "So it solves a couple different problems."
Renovation work began at the property last Friday, and Morris estimates that it will be ready to open by Mid-April.
The program will also bring 8-10 jobs to the Highland area.
To start the application process and see if your child qualifies for Early Headstart, you can contact the Headstart office in Batesville at (870) 793-3234.