Arkansas Children

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.

State Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) presenting her bill in the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee.
arkansashouse.org

A drug testing program for Arkansans seeking help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, is one step closer to becoming law. A House committee on Tuesday passed the bill to extend a two year trial run indefinitely.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansans with an interest in issues related to children and a desire to engage in the political process and will have the opportunity Tuesday at the state Capitol.

At the beginning of every regular legislative session Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) and the Arkansas Kids Count Coalition organize Kids Count Day at the Capitol. The event is a full day of activities including a rally, meetings with legislators, and information on upcoming bills related to children and families.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state is taking over operation of seven youth lockup facilities after lawmakers rejected a disputed $160 million contract with an Indiana company.

A state-by-state study of Head Start programs shows Arkansas keeping up with national averages in per-child funding levels and hours of classroom time, but the state lags in pay and education levels for teachers. The National Institute for Early Education Research released the findings Wednesday.

Steve Barnett, the institute’s director and a professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, says in order to improve the reach and effectiveness of early childhood education, Arkansas should find more ways to partner with the federal Head Start program.

Arkansas foster care officials say a proposed $26 million budget increase will allow them to hire hundreds of more staffers over the next two years as they try to cut down caseloads and increase the number of homes available for children in the state's custody.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Johnelle Shaw is a 27-year-old first-time mother with a two-month old son, Logan. She is visiting a lactation consultant at The Pulaski County Health Unit in Southwest Little Rock. Logan has a cold and is back for a breastfeeding check-in.  The consultant weighs him in at 7.6 ounces, a full pound bigger than he was at his last visit a month before.

Arkansas Advocates For Children And Families Executive Director Rich Huddleston.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Child advocates on Wednesday called on candidates and elected officials to place more of an emphasis on children’s issues during this year’s elections and in next year’s state legislative session.

Arkansas Department of Human Services Logo
arkansas.gov

More Arkansas children are entering foster care than leaving the system, and there are more than three times as many foster children as foster homes. So the Department of Human Services is trying to streamline the process of creating more of those homes.

Harrisburg Treatment Center
humanservices.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Division of Youth Services is planning to stop using its Arkansas-based providers in all but one of the state's juvenile treatment centers and correctional facilities, in favor of a single company from Indiana.

At a meeting of the Children and Youth Committee on Monday, Interim Director Betty Guhman said the state will also boost its per-bed, per-day rate for juvenile offenders by 58 percent – from $147 a day to $232. State Senator Linda Chesterfield said she wants to know from where the additional funds come.

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