Arkansas Children

One Heart Playground
Jeff Caplinger / City of North Little Rock

A specially designed playground for children with varying degrees of physical impairments is to open Thursday at North Little Rock’s Burns Park. The One Heart Playground will also accommodate adults with disabilities who want to be with children as they play.

A grand opening is set for 2 p.m. at the playground, which is near the Funland Amusement Park and the rocket slide. But the cost of the project ended up being more than had been originally anticipated.

Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie and shows a progress chart to reporters alongside Division of Children and Family Services Director Mischa Martin.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A year after Arkansas reached an alarming record in the number of children in foster care – and the governor said the system was in crisis – the state’s top child welfare officials say significant improvements have been made. But in a meeting with reporters Wednesday, they acknowledged there’s still much more work to be done.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Visitors to Little Rock's Central High School will now have a way to explore the school’s historic past. An app developed by the Central High Civil Rights Memory Project in partnership with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, uses first-person accounts to narrate a walking tour of the school.

George West taught civics at Central High, and now serves as education outreach coordinator at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. He has seen firsthand the impact the project has had on students.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson holds up an action plan from the Department of Human Services. DHS Director Cindy Gillespie stands to the side.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson is once again opening up Arkansas’s youth treatment centers to private operators. The state’s residential facilities for children in the juvenile justice system had long been operated privately but the state took over operations in January following a legislative impasse over bidders.

The state begins the bidding process again in December. Department of Human Services - Division of Youth Services Director Betty Guhman said the state’s made improvements while at the helm that they want carried over by private operators.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

The Arkansas Parole Board is halting action under the state's new law that eliminates mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles after a judge said it's unconstitutional.

Willie Freeman says he used to avoid smiling, and if he did, it was in a way almost no one could see, with his mouth closed. He was embarrassed of his rotten teeth.

“I wouldn’t go around people and if I did smile, you know, nobody would see me smile,” said Freeman. “My teeth was so messed up, you know, I had gaps everywhere,” he said sitting in an office at Little Rock’s low-income, non-profit Harmony Health Clinic, waiting for an appointment.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Supreme Court has ruled for same-sex couples who complained an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against them.

The justices on Monday issued an unsigned opinion reversing an Arkansas high court ruling that upheld the law.

Under the law, married lesbian couples had to get a court order to have both spouses listed as parents on their children's birth certificates.

A West Memphis day care where a 5-year-old developmentally disabled boy died in a vehicle has been placed on probation by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

The agency said Wednesday that the license of the Ascent Child Health Services facility is on a probationary provisional status for one year. It'll remain open, but undergo extra monitoring.

Authorities say the boy was left strapped in a car seat in the facility's van the morning of June 12. He was found dead in the vehicle later that afternoon.

Report Finds More Than One In Four Arkansas Kids Live In Poverty

Jun 13, 2017
Rich Huddleston Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Arkansas Business

Arkansas has much work to do to raise itself from the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overall child well-being. The Natural State ranked No. 45 out of 50 states in the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report released Tuesday. The state ranking slipped one notch from a year ago.

Roughly 188,000 Arkansas children are living in poverty. That comes to 27% up from 26% reported a year ago. Nationally the child poverty rate is 21%, slightly better than 22% in the last year’s report.

The theme for 2017's nationwide summer reading program is "Build a Better World."
Collaborative Summer Library Program / Collaborative Summer Library Program

Libraries across Arkansas will join libraries nationwide to encourage patrons to “Build a Better World” this summer.

The summer reading program is an event in which libraries across the country, united by a common theme, promote reading and educational activities during the months most schools are closed.

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