Arkansas Children

  Actions came from both the governor’s office and a state House committee Tuesday to address controversy over Representative Justin Harris “rehoming” two of his adopted daughters without state oversight to a non-relative. 

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

One of Arkansas’s leading advocacy groups for children and low-income people is gearing up for next month’s legislative session. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families on Thursday in Little Rock held the last of three pre-legislative conferences hosted throughout the state. Expanding access to pre-K and reforming the juvenile justice system were among a slew of issues in which AACF's staff and guest speakers briefed attendees.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new report presented to a legislative committee Monday says $14 million is needed to raise state funding for pre-K programs to meet cost of living increases. The study also says only about half of eligible children are being served by Arkansas’s early childhood education programs.

State Representative David Kizzia joined Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to share details of the study with members of the Education Committee. Lawmakers from Alabama and Oklahoma dialed in to discuss the successes of their pre-K programs following increases in funding.

The federal government says well more than 160 unaccompanied children in Arkansas have been placed with sponsors so far this year after they crossed the border into the United States.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of unaccompanied minors in each state that were placed with parents, relatives or family friends after crossing the border.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is awarding a $1 million grant to the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education.

The grant announced Thursday is intended to improve early learning and school readiness standards for young children and to find ways to get parents more involved in early learning for children.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has formed a new team to review unexpected child deaths in six Arkansas counties.

The team will review the unexpected deaths of infants and children in Arkansas, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson and Saline counties. DHS says it's the sixth such team in Arkansas as part of the state's Infant and Child Death Review Program.

The program is overseen by Arkansas Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Center. The teams include representatives from local coroners' offices, law enforcement, prosecutors, DHS and other organizations.

To fight hunger, mail carriers around the nation will pick up food donations on Saturday.

At the state Capitol on Wednesday, Governor Mike Beebe met with students from Sherwood's Clinton Elementary Magnet School, along with representatives of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Arkansas Foodbank, and the AARP Foundation. 

They gathered to raise awareness about the nation's largest single-day food drive.

People are asked to leave non-perishable foods next to their mailboxes Saturday morning to be picked up by their letter carriers.

Gage Skidmore /

Actor Jeff Bridges is scheduled to visit Little Rock to promote an effort aimed at reducing childhood hunger.

The No Kid Hungry campaign is trying to increase participation in programs that provide meals for children at their schools. The campaign is a part of the national, non-profit group Share Our Strength.

Bridges is scheduled to attend a school assembly Monday at Little Rock's Stephens Elementary School, followed by a panel discussion with Gov. Mike Beebe and Share Our Strength CEO Billy Shore.

The University of Central Arkansas has been awarded nearly $300,000 in grant money to study middle school bullying.

Three professors of the Department of Psychology and Counseling Department have been awarded the grant entitled, “Decreasing Bullying with a Self-Affirmation: A Test of the Compensation Model.”

Drs. Paul Nail, Elson Bihm, and Joan Simon’s research will test the this model. 

The two-year long, National Institutes of Health grant will, in part, fund the interviewing of children, asking them what values are important to them and their families.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

As part of efforts to commemorate National Adoption Day, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Pulaski County Court held a celebration in honor of the 13 children and their newly adoptive families.