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Our key ally in Arkansas is ForwARd Arkansas, a public-private partnership of the Arkansas State Board of Education, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. They work to increase equity, increase student achievement, and close the achievement gap. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is a ForwARd Arkansas grant partner.

2020 State Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Advocacy Landscape:

2020 Policy Environment and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (R), Senate (R)
Governor (R)

173,765 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

The public health crisis caused by the pandemic exposed cracks in Arkansas’ systems of early care and education and is spotlighting inequities within those systems. The crisis created an opportunity to renew investment in early care and education as part of a comprehensive education system and a vital component of the social safety net. Allies worked to help shape Arkansas’ early care and education policy response to the pandemic and how state funds from the federal CARES act would be spent. Another priority became state and federal advocacy on access to health care coverage and safety net programs and other programs, such as Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, TANF, SNAP and WIC, services for immigrants, and using federal education dollars to close equity gaps in education.

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 



Top Alliance Grant Priorities for 2021

Inform and influence Arkansas’ policymakers’ response to COVID-19 and its effects on early care and education.

Advocate for enactment of refundable tax credits for early childhood educators in Arkansas.

Promote expanded support for infant care in Arkansas—particularly through family child-care settings.