Funding to expand child care assistance gets support

Funding to expand child care assistance gets support
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced that $26 million will be used to expand a child care assistance program in the state. (Source: KARK-TV)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A plan to provide up to $26 million in funding for a state child care assistance program will help children and their parents get help at a needed time, state officials said Thursday.

According to a report from Little Rock television station KARK, officials with the Arkansas Department of Human Services announced the funding initiative during a press conference at the state Capitol.

At least 10% of the funding will be used for professional development, infant/toddler initiatives, and child care while the remainder will go toward a block-grant program, KARK reported.

The funding will help increase the number of children who receive help by nearly 70%, with at least 2,000 children already on a waiting list due to budget issues.

In order to receive the help, a family must have one child at home who is 12 years old or younger, while the household income cannot be above 200% of the federal poverty level, KARK reported.

A parent also has to work at least 30 hours a week, go to school full time, or be enrolled in a training or certificate program in order to participate.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the plan can provide an opportunity for parents and children to get ahead.

"I am grateful that Congress and President Trump saw fit to send more money back to the states," Hutchinson said. "Success in life depends to a large degree on the quality of education early in life. This additional funding increases the number of children who will benefit from our first-rate early childhood programs and helps parents who are working or going to school."

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