Current through Register Vol. 2022, No. 3, March, 2022
- REGULATORY AUTHORITY
1.01 These rules are enacted pursuant to the
authority of the State Board of Education under ACA §
6-45-101 et seq. as
1.02 The Division of Child
Care and Early Childhood Education, Arkansas Department of Human Services,
shall coordinate and administer the Arkansas Better Chance Program, providing
all appropriate technical assistance and program monitoring necessary to
fulfill the requirements of Ark. Code Ann.
6-45-101 et seq.,
DCCECE will annually provide the State Board of Education a list of grants
which are recommended for funding for the next year.
1.03 The State Board of Education will
approve all rules developed pursuant to Act 212 of 1991 and Act 49 of 2003 as
amended and will approve all programs funded under the Arkansas Better Chance
2.01 It is the purpose
of these rules to set the general guidelines for the operation of early
childhood programs funded under the Arkansas Better Chance Program and the
Arkansas Better Chance for School Success Program.
3.01 ABC: Arkansas Better Chance
3.02 ABCSS (Arkansas Better Chance for School
Success): Unless standards for ABC and ABCSS are listed separately, the term
"ABC' will be used to refer to all participating programs.
3.03 ADE: Arkansas Department of
3.04 AECPDS: Arkansas
Early Childhood Professional Development System
3.05 APSCN: Arkansas Public School Computer
3.06 Agency: For purposes
of these rules, "Agency" refers to any entity funded under the Arkansas Better
Chance or Arkansas Better Chance for School Success program.
3.07 CACFP: Child and Adult Care Food Program
(Special Nutrition). A federally-funded subsidy program administered by DCCECE
designed to provide reimbursement to providers for meals and snacks served to
children from low-income families.
3.08 CCFH: Child Care Family Home
3.09 CDA: Child Development
3.10 Classroom: A
physical space which is partitioned for the purpose of ABC instruction and
activities. Each classroom must meet licensing requirements and state Quality
Child Outcome, Planning and Assessment. A web-based information technology
system used to capture and maintain data for all children and families enrolled
Components: The six key areas of ABC which include:
-Low student to teacher ratio
-Developmental Screening and Child Assessment
-Well-qualified and compensated staff
-Proven curricula and learning processes
-Meaningful parent and community engagement
These components serve as the basis of ABC funding levels.
3.13 DCCECE: Division of Child
Care and Early Childhood Education
3.14 DECA: Deveraux Early Childhood
3.15 DHS: Arkansas
Department of Human Services
ECERS-R (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised): A
nationally-recognized scale developed to measure various elements of classroom
quality. ECERS-R is used to measure the environmental quality of early
(Environmental Rating Scale): The term used to describe the tools used to
measure elements of classroom quality. These include the Early Childhood
Environmental Rating Scale, Infant-Toddler Rating Scale, Family Child Care
Rating Scale and School-Age Care Rating Scale.
3.18 FPL: Federal Poverty Level
3.19 IEP: Individualized Education
3.20 IDEA: Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act
INDEX: Investigating, Discovering and Exploring, the state-approved curriculum
training on Math and Science for Young Children.
3.22 In-kind services: Support services
provided at either no cost or without monetary exchange. To use in-kind
services as match, services must be provided to the ABC program.
3.23 HIPPY: Home Instruction for Parents of
Local Education Agency
National Association for the Education of Young Children
3.26 PAT: Parents as Teachers
3.27 Single-Site Classroom: One ABC classroom
at a geographic location
Multi-classroom Site: Multiple ABC classrooms located on the same
3.29 SSN: Social Security
3.30 Shall: Mandatory
3.31 Should: Standard is
recommended but not mandatory
SQP: Staff Qualifications Plan. A process by which DCCECE can approve staff not
meeting minimum qualifications to work in an ABC classroom under certain
3.33 Work Sampling
System (WSS): A web-based instrument used by ABC programs to assess a child's
progress in various educational domains over the program year.
4.01 The ABC Program
serves educationally deprived children, ages birth through 5 years, excluding a
kindergarten program. The Arkansas Better Chance for School Success Program
serves children ages 3 and 4 years from families with gross income not
exceeding 200% of the FPL. Programs wishing to enroll a kindergarten-eligible
child must obtain a written waiver from DCCECE before enrolling the child in
ABC. Parents must also complete a kindergarten waiver process through the local
4.02 To be
eligible, children shall reside within the boundaries of an Arkansas school
district. Programs may accept children outside of their local area if they have
exhausted local recruiting efforts and have unfilled ABC slots.
Eligible children for the ABC program
shall have at least one of the following characteristics:
-Family with gross income not exceeding exceeding 200% of
-Has a demonstrable developmental delay as identified
-Parents without a high school diploma or GED
-Eligible for services under IDEA
-Low birth weight (below 5 pounds, 9 ounces)
-Income eligible for Title I programs
-Parent is under 18 years of age at child's
-Limited English Proficiency
-Immediate family member has a history of substance
-Parent has history of abuse of neglect Or is a victim of
abuse or neglect
Eligible children for the ABC for School Success program must meet the
-Must be three or four years old by ADE cutoff
-A program is available in the area where the child
resides and there is available space for the child to attend.
-Gross family income ≤ 200% of FPL
To receive special education services a child must reside within
certain district/co-op boundary lines.
4.05 To enroll an eligible child, the child's
parent or guardian shall furnish documentation of eligibility and other
required information, including household income and household member
information. A list of all acceptable documentation will be published annually
by DCCECE. Children of parents or guardians refusing to furnish required
information shall be deemed ineligible for participation. Programs are
responsible for verifying eligibility before the child attends and shall
maintain copies of eligibility documentation in the child's record.
4.06 A copy of the child's birth certificate
or hospital record listing a date of birth is required. If official
documentation of date of birth is unavailable, the ABC program shall follow the
guidelines of the local district in such instances.
4.07 In determining income eligibility,
programs shall use a family's gross income from employment plus any
unemployment compensation. Documentation of income eligibility must be present
in each child's record. If pay stubs are used to document eligibility, recent
documents (dated within 30 days) shall be used. DCCECE shall publish a list of
acceptable documentation annually. If a three-year old child has been qualified
for ABCSS, that child shall remain eligible for two years.
4.08 Families claiming no earned income
(full-time students or unemployed) shall produce a signed and notarized
statement to that effect, which shall be maintained in the child
4.09 Parents or guardians
shown to have submitted a falsified document shall be subject to repayment of
funds to DCCECE and referral for prosecution.
4.10 Agencies shown to have enrolled
ineligible children or children with no documentation of eligibility shall be
required to repay the funds expended on behalf of the child to DHS.
An age-eligible child who falls into one
of the following categories shall be exempt from family income requirements:
* Foster child
* Child with an incarcerated parent
* Child in the custody of/living with a family member other than
mother or father
* Child with immediate family member arrested for or convicted of
* Child with a parent activated for overseas military duty
4.12 The ADE and DCCECE may
develop a fee schedule and establish eligibility based on family income for
children who are not eligible under Section 4.4, but priority enrollment shall
be provided to children eligible under Section 4.4. Families who are qualified
for enrollment under a sliding fee scale should pay fees directly to the
program. The amount of any parent co-pay as determined by DCCECE shall be
deducted from the reimbursement to programs accepting children on a sliding fee
4.13 DCCECE, with approval
from ADE, may grant waivers to children not meeting the eligibility criteria
under Sections 4.3 or 4.4 but possessing multiple risk factors for learning and
developmental impairment. Requests for such waivers must be submitted to DCCECE
in writing and will be considered on a case by case basis.
4.14 Children having certain risk factors may
be eligible for home-visiting services, in addition to attending a center-based
ABC program. See Section 18.6 for eligibility requirements.
4.15 Eligible children shall not be denied
enrollment into an available ABC program or dismissed from an ABC program due
to non-payment of any fees associated with another child care
- PROGRAM/AGENCY ELIGIBILITY
Any child care provider meeting these
criteria is eligible to apply for funding:
* Located within the boundaries of the State of Arkansas
* Licensed by DCCECE as a Child Care Center or Child Care Family
Home with no history of formal corrective action or founded complaints which
pose an immediate safety risk within 12 months of application date
* Has no outstanding debt to DCCECE or ADE (This requirement
shall be suspended if an appeal is pending.)
* Has obtained State Quality Approval accreditation OR is
eligible for such accreditation in the space to be used for the ABC
* Can provide matching funds in accordance with local to state
40:60 funding ratio
The local-to-state match may be waived by DCCECE if the program
is in a school district that has been designated by ADE as being in academic
distress and DCCECE determines that the school is unable to provide the
local-to-state match requirement. This determination may be made only after
DCCECE has assisted the school in identifying potential funding sources to
provide local-to-state match requirements.
Any provider wishing to be considered
for funding must fully complete a grant application supplied by DCCECE. Grant
applications will be evaluated and scored on the following factors:
* Current status of child care license and quality approval
* The degree to which the program can provide a developmentally
appropriate preschool program as outlined in the grant application
* A strategy of collaboration with the local business and
* A fiscally-responsible budget which correlates to core quality
* A plan of action for parent involvement
5.03 DCCECE will determine an acceptable
cutoff score for approved applications. Questions and concerns regarding grant
scoring should be referred to the Program Administrator. The ABC Administrator
shall make the final determination of all grant scores. Grant scores are
All applications shall
include a budget which corresponds to the ABC core quality components, details
program costs and demonstrates fiscal responsibility. Allowable costs include:
* instructional materials
* staff development
* developmental screenings
* parent/community engagement activities
* financial assistance for staff working towards a degree or
credential, including but not limited to books, tuition and travel.
Upon approval of an ABC
application, the order of funding shall be based on criteria stated in Act 49
of 2003, which includes areas of the state containing:
* Schools that have 75% or more students scoring below
proficiency level on the primary benchmark exams (math and literacy) in the
preceding two (2) school years
* Schools designated by ADE as being in school improvement
* Schools located in a school district in academic
Other factors determining areas to be funded may include
socio-economic status of the service area and the availability of existing
quality preschool services in an area.
6.02 Any program funded through ABC shall
work in collaboration with DCCECE, ADE, local businesses and other early
childhood providers (school districts, educational cooperatives, Head Start,
HIPPY, private and non-profit providers, etc.) to ensure that all eligible
children are served in the most suitable environment. This collaboration shall
include, but is not limited to, participation in and/or facilitation of local
early childhood meetings and referring families to other programs when
6.03 The required
local 40% match may include only the cost of providing necessary services for
ABC children. Matching funds may be cash or in-kind.
6.04 State ABC Funding (60%) for the core
components of the program may include salaries and fringe for staff giving
direct services to ABC children, professional development, child assessment,
developmental screening, meaningful parent and community engagement activities,
proven curricula and learning processes, transportation and
6.05 The maximum
amount of funding is based upon projected child enrollment. Programs will be
paid monthly. Payment shall be pro-rated for agencies not in operation a full
program year. During the year, programs shall be audited to ensure compliance
with child enrollment and attendance policies. An ABC program found to be
enrolling ineligible children shall be required to repay applicable funds to
DHS and be subject to all collection proceedings allowed by law. Funds may be
withheld from future payments to satisfy repayment. Overpayments or the amount
of any end of year carry-forward funds shall be deducted from future
6.06 DCCECE shall not be
responsible for sending out additional or late payments due to failure of
Agency to enter data in COPA. DCCECE will assume any payments not disputed
within 30 days of receipt shall be correct. DCCECE cannot retroactively pay any
Agency for previous year services.
6.07 Payment shall be withheld if a program
does not comply with reporting requirements.
6.08 ABC is intended to supplement, not
supplant, existing early childhood funding sources.
6.09 Funding, not to exceed 2% of the total
ABC funding pool, shall be available from the ABC monies for the additional
support services required of DCCECE in administering the ABC program.
7.01 All child, family and staff information
shall be maintained in COPA by the program. Attendance shall be taken daily and
recorded in COPA at least monthly. Initial data must be entered by the due date
set and published by DCC-ECE. Agencies shall update COPA data within ten (10)
days of any change to family, child or staff data.
7.02 Each ABC program shall submit to DCCECE
two (2) financial expenditure reports-due on January 30 and July 30 of each
year-which detail operating expenses and enrollment data. Programs shall
receive guidance from DCCECE on the specific format of each report.
7.03 An Agency shall operate its ABC program
according to the financial guidelines outlined in the grant application
7.04 A complete and
final disclosure audit of each ABC program is required and must be submitted
annually for review to DCCECE. Any ABC program that is annually reviewed by
Legislative Audit may submit the summary completed by that agency. All final
audits shall be submitted within 120 days of the program's fiscal year
7.05 Programs that fail
to adhere to a reporting deadline or respond to a request for information by
DCCECE will be subject to compliance action as outlined in Section
7.06 Children qualifying under
the sliding fee scale must be clearly marked as such in COPA. Programs shall
also report any non-ABC qualifying children who have been assigned to an ABC
classroom. Failure to do so is grounds for a compliance plan (See Section 21).
DCCECE will inform programs as to the manner that reporting shall take
7.07 Once a grant agreement
has been signed, any change made to the program whatsoever shall be reported to
DCCECE within five (5) working days of the change. This includes, but is not
limited to, any changes in address, phone, e-mail address, staff, slot
locations or budget items.
- APPLICATION/RENEWAL APPLICATION
8.01 The Request for Applications will
specify all application procedures for an ABC program. DCCECE is not obligated
to review any proposal received after the submission deadline stated in the
8.02 If all ABC funds
are not allocated or expended during any program year, the DCCECE may initiate
an additional application period to fully obligate all available
8.03 An Agency shall operate
its ABC program in accordance with all information contained in the grant
application. Any deviation from the information in the application must first
be approved by DCCECE. This includes budget items.
- MINIMUM STANDARDS/CLASSROOM
9.01 All ABC classroom
programs shall satisfy the requirements specified in The Child Care Licensing
Act, ACA §
through 224 and rules and regulations enacted pursuant to these
9.02 All ABC center-based
or family-home based programs shall maintain a license in good standing as
referenced in Section 9.1. Any ABC program whose license is revoked shall be
immediately terminated from the ABC program.
9.03 Agencies that are barred from
participating in DHS programs pursuant to DHS Policy 1088 shall be ineligible
for participation in ABC. Grant agreements for any existing programs excluded
pursuant to this policy shall be terminated immediately. Programs placed on
corrective action by DHS shall be subject to ABC compliance action as outlined
in Section 21.
9.04 DCCECE is
directly responsible for the inspection and evaluation of programs as
referenced in Section 9.1. Inspections and monitoring visits may occur without
prior notice. This includes quality visits, program reviews or any other visit
by a DCCECE or authorized representative.
All ABC classrooms shall meet the
criteria for becoming an "approved" Early Childhood program under the Arkansas
Child Care Approval System Rules and Regulations, Ark. Code Ann.
(Supp. 1993). An overall score of 5.0 is required for the ERS which is
applicable to each classroom. DCCECE will utilize the following procedure for
any program failing to meet these requirements:
Result of Program Review
1st No Pass (ERS Score<
Recommendations for improvements shall be made in writing
to the Agency ABC Administrator/Coordinator and Teacher. Technical assistance
shall be given to the Agency.
2nd No Pass (ERS Score<
Conference shall be held between Agency ABC
Administrator/Coordinator, Teacher and DCCECE staff to
advise Agency of 2nd No Pass Status and required
improvements. Agency is placed on probationary status with third review
scheduled within 60 days of conference.
3rd No Pass (ERS Score <
Agency is partially or fully de-funded for next program
Any agency which is not renewed pursuant to this policy shall be
ineligible to reapply for an ABC grant for a period of 12 months.
At the discretion of DCCECE, the following may be considered as
mitigating circumstances: impact of deficiencies on child health, safety and
welfare; willingness to improve upon factors within Agency control; likelihood
of program passing next review and the time in which such improvements can be
implemented. Recommendations for improvement may include staff changes.
9.06 For each child enrolled, ABC
programs shall provide a minimum of 7 hours per day, 178 days per year for
programs shall follow public school regulations regarding the time requirements
for teacher planning periods. However, planning periods for ABC teachers shall
be scheduled at a time that do not violate minimum staff-child ratios or other
9.08 Programs shall
utilize a parent handbook specifically designed for the ABC program. Attendance
and tardy policies shall be clearly outlined in the handbook. Parents shall
sign a statement stating they have received a copy of the handbook and
understand its contents. Programs shall maintain a copy of the signed statement
in the child record. Programs should direct specific cases to DCCECE for
technical assistance or guidance.
- STAFF/PUPIL RATIO FOR
size in any classroom with ABC children shall not exceed:
* 8 children for ages birth-18 months
* 14 children for ages 18 months-3 years
* 20 children for ages 3-5 years
* or the classroom's licensing capacity, whichever is
Programs may integrate ABC classrooms with children funded
through other sources. However, the maximum group sizes listed above apply to
ALL children in a classroom containing ABC children, regardless of funding
adult-to-child ratio in any classroom with ABC children shall not exceed:
* 1:4 (birth to 18 months)
* 1:7 (18 months-3 years)
* 1:10 (3 years-5 years)
10.03 A minimum of 50% of the staff must
remain in the classroom during rest time for children 3-5 years old only. Full
staffing must occur for all other ages and at all other times, including
10.04 Pursuant to licensing
regulations, a teacher or aide may escort a child or group of children to a
bathroom or school nurse if another qualified staff person remains in the
classroom. A classroom shall not be counted out of compliance for a teacher
taking a brief bathroom break as long as the other staff member remains in the
- STAFF QUALIFICATIONS AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
11.01 The lead teacher shall hold a standard
Arkansas teacher license with P-4 certification. Non-public school based or
non-educational cooperative based ABC programs may hire a non-certified teacher
with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or child development.
Non-public school or non-cooperative based ABC programs may not hire teachers
with a provisional or initial teacher license. The Division shall consider
degree exemptions for non-public school/coop based providers on a case-by-case
basis, contingent upon the teacher having a requisite number of hours in early
childhood and/or child development. Lead teachers must be able to demonstrate
competency in the areas of developmentally appropriate programming, curriculum
development and daily classroom management.
11.02 For multiple classroom sites, the
teacher of a second classroom shall hold, at a minimum, an associate degree in
early childhood education or early childhood development. Teachers must be able
to demonstrate competency in the areas of developmentally appropriate
programming, curriculum development and daily classroom management. The
Division shall consider degree exemptions for non-public school/coop based
providers on a case-by-case basis, contingent upon the teacher having a
requisite number of hours in early childhood and/or child development.
Non-public school or non-cooperative based ABC programs may not hire teachers
with a provisional or initial teacher license.
11.03 The paraprofessional shall hold one of
the following: an associate degree in early childhood education or child
development OR a CDA credential. Paraprofessionals are an integral part of
classroom instruction and should be given responsibilities which are
commensurate with their education and experience. In general, paraprofessionals
should be able to assist with classroom activities, interaction, supervision
replacing a teacher or paraprofessional during the year-including those taking
an indefinite leave of absence-shall consult with DCCECE on specific
11.05 An ABC
program coordinator or site director without teaching responsibilities shall
meet the minimum licensing requirements for a center director AND complete
Director's Orientation within a reasonable time period, subject to the
availability of training. The coordinator or director will preferably have some
experience in early childhood.
11.06 Caregivers in an infant/toddler ABC
room shall hold a minimum of a CDA credential in infant/toddler care.
11.07 Staff members not qualifying under
Sections 11.01-11.02 may work in an ABC program under an approved SQP. DCCECE
will approve these plans on a case-by-case basis and shall monitor the plan to
ensure adequate progress is being made. Programs shall file a SQP with DCCECE
within fifteen (15) days of the date of hire and shall submit progress reports
on January 30 and July 30 annually. Programs hiring staff members not meeting
minimum qualifications without an approved SQP shall be subject to termination
from the ABC program.
adhering to the necessary qualifications, ABC programs should also strive to
maintain an ethnically diverse staff appropriate to child enrollment.
11.09 Between July 1 and June 30 each year,
All ABC teachers and aides shall participate in a minimum of thirty (30) hours
of staff development on topics pertinent to early childhood education and
approved by DCCECE. Persons who are obtaining an early childhood degree may
count college course hours pertinent to early childhood education toward the
required hours of staff development. Programs should multiply semester hours by
5 to obtain the number of semester hours counted towards ABC professional
paraprofessionals shall be required to receive training in the following areas:
* Arkansas Early Childhood or Infant/Toddler Education
* Pre-K ELLA (Early Literacy Learning in Arkansas)
* INDEX (Math and Science for Young Children)
* Social/Emotional Learning in Arkansas
* Work Sampling Online
* Deveraux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA)
* Special Needs, including process, Special Education rules and
regulations and IDEA
With the exception of annual Work Sampling training and updates,
timeframes for completing such requirements may vary with availability and
access to the above trainings. DCCECE or ADE Special Education may mandate
additional training subject to needs in various locations.
11.11 In addition to the requirements of
11.10, coordinators for each ABC program shall ensure that all appropriate
staff members attend mandatory ABC training (budgets, reporting, assessments,
information technology, etc.) provided by DCCECE. Programs with staff members
not adhering to these requirements are subject to the terms of a compliance
plan as outlined in Section 21.
11.12 The ABC program coordinator and all ABC
staff shall register with the AECPDS Registry. The Registry identification
number for each staff shall be entered in COPA.
11.13 ABC programs shall establish an
employment agreement in writing with all classroom staff. This agreement shall
outline working conditions, dates and hours of employment, compensation and
fringe benefits. A copy of the public school teacher contract shall satisfy
- STAFFING PATTERNS/CLASSROOM PROGRAMS
12.01 Single classroom sites for preschool
shall have a teacher qualified under 11.01-11.02. Classrooms with over 10
children must have a paraprofessional qualified under 11.03.
12.02 For ABC programs operating
infant/toddler classrooms, programs must have one (1) qualified caregiver
meeting the requirements of Section 11.6 for either every four children
(infants) or seven children (toddlers).
In multi-classroom sites, the following
staffing patterns shall be adhered to:
Lead Teacher (11.01)
Classroom Teacher (11.02)
classroom which is partitioned in any way may be considered multiple classroom
space by DCCECE. Factors to be considered in this decision shall include
supervision issues, as well as level of staff qualifications in the classroom
- PROGRAM STANDARDS
early childhood programs funded by ABC monies shall be developmentally
appropriate and individualized to meet the needs of each student enrolled. The
following references shall be utilized to determine developmental
* Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood
Programs, Revised Edition, Edited by Sue Bredekamp and Carol Copple,
© 2004 by NAEYC
* From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early
Childhood Development, Edited by Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. and Deborah A.
Phillips, © 2000 by National Academy of Sciences.
* Arkansas Early Childhood Frameworks
13.02 Programs shall demonstrate that the
classroom arrangement satisfies "substantial portion of the day" as defined by
the environmental rating scales. If used, room dividers shall be arranged and
of sufficient height to prohibit distractions from other classes yet not hinder
proper supervision within the classroom.
13.03 Each classroom shall be equipped with
toys, books and play apparatus to take care of the needs of the total group and
to provide each child with a variety of activities through the day. A variety
of equipment shall be accessible from low shelves to children of all ages and
shall be arranged in learning centers.
13.04 The program shall be individualized to
meet the needs of each student enrolled. Each curriculum model and the actual
classroom practice will be assessed using the applicable environmental rating
scale to ensure the model is developmentally appropriate.
13.05 The program shall have a written
overall curriculum plan which is arranged in thematic units, projects or topics
of study and includes goals and objectives related to the following: cultural
diversity, social/emotional development, creative/aesthetic learning,
cognitive/intellectual learning, physical development and language.
13.06 All programs must utilize a curriculum
approved by DCCECE. A list of approved curriculum models will be made available
by DCCECE on an annual basis. A program wishing to use a curriculum not on the
list may request, in writing to DCCECE, consideration of an additional
curriculum. Program coordinators shall ensure teachers have adequate training
13.07 Children shall
participate in a daily schedule that reflects a balance among the following
types of activities: indoor/outdoor; quiet/active; individual/small group/large
group; gross motor/fine motor; child initiated/teacher initiated.
13.08 Routine and transition times throughout
the day, such as preparing for mealtime, shall be used as opportunities for
incidental learning. Transition times shall be planned to avoid frequent
disruption of children's activities and long waits between
maintain an individual child record on site. At a minimum, the record shall
contain copies of:
* Birth certificate, hospital birth record or other official
verification of birth date
* Documentation of child eligibility
* Completed and dated application form
* Emergency information, including non-parental contact and
* Parental authorization for medical care, daily pick-up and
* Field trip authorization
* Completed Health Form and Immunization record (or proof of
* Record of completed developmental screening
* Samples of child's work
* Teacher and parent observations and summaries of parent-teacher
* Work Sampling Developmental Checklists
Child records or any ABC file containing personal information on
families and children shall be kept in a locked file cabinet with access
granted only on a need-to-know basis. The child record shall be available for
inspection by DCCECE staff. If certain records must be stored off-site, copies
shall be made and given to teachers to maintain in a record on-site. In
maintaining and updating child and family data, ABC programs shall utilize
COPA. Other than those documents required to be retained for licensing
purposes, teachers shall give a copy of the child's record to the parent upon
completion of or dis-enrollment from the program or forward the record to the
child's kindergarten program.
The arrangement of indoor and outdoor
equipment, materials and interest areas for each group shall provide for:
* Accessibility to equipment and materials so that children may
select and return them easily
* An orderly, uncluttered atmosphere
* Visual and/or auditory supervision of children in all
* Separation of active and quiet play areas
* Traffic patterns that avoid disruption of activities
At a minimum,
developmentally appropriate equipment and materials of sufficient quantity to
accommodate a sustained learning environment shall be provided in the following
interest areas/learning centers:
5. Discovery/Science Sensory
2. Dramatic Play
6. Sand/Water Play
3. Stories/Language Development
Outdoor play shall be used as an extension of the learning activities that
occur in the classroom. As such, ABC staff shall participate in this activity.
Each ABC classroom shall offer a minimum of 60 minutes of outdoor play daily
unless prevented by inclement weather.
The outdoor play area shall be
developmentally appropriate and meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission
standards for outdoor play areas. The outdoor play area shall provide the
* A variety of surfaces
* An arrangement designed for appropriate flow of
* Climbing and other active play items and structures
* Open areas for running and games
* Opportunities for dramatic play
* Adequate storage for equipment and materials
* Parti al shade
* Quiet, private spaces
* A separate outdoor area equipped for infants and toddlers (if
should be made through program design and networking efforts to ease the
transition of children moving from one program or age grouping to another or to
public school kindergartens. This provision must include individual needs
assessments on each child, lesson plans and specific activities written into
the program design. At a minimum, the transition plan shall involve parents and
appropriate school district personnel.
13.15 ABC programs are required to provide
free nutritious meals and snacks for all children enrolled in ABC/ABCSS.
Mealtime is an opportunity to engage children in conversation about the day and
themselves. Therefore, ABC staff shall participate with the children during
this time. Children shall be given an appropriate amount of time for meals and
13.16 Parents or
guardians of children qualified as eligible for ABC services shall not be
required to pay any fees or provide food or supplies during ABC program hours.
This includes enrollment fees, field trip expenses or uniforms.
13.17 Electronic mail is a necessary means by
which DCCECE communicates vital information to programs. All participating
programs must maintain a working e-mail address which is checked daily.
Applicable information shall be distributed to classroom staff by the program
- CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT/SPECIAL EDUCATION
14.01 No child in ABC shall be dismissed or
expelled from the program for behavior without approval from DCCECE.
14.02 Discipline shall reflect positive
guidance, be consistent and individualized for each child. Such discipline
shall be appropriate to the child's level of understanding. Corporal punishment
is an unacceptable method of discipline and shall not be used. Programs shall
specifically define their approach to handling inappropriate behavior in the
ABC parent handbook.
child presents with challenging behavior, teaching staff shall follow the
standards of NAEYC Accreditation:
* Observe the children, then identify events, activities,
interactions and other factors that predict and may contribute to challenging
* Rather than focus only on eliminating the behavior, teaching
staff shall focus on teaching the child social, communication, and emotional
regulation skills and using environmental modifications, activity
modifications, adult or peer support and other teaching strategies to support
the child's appropriate behavior.
* Teaching staff shall respond to challenging behavior, including
physical aggression, in a manner that:
- provides safety of the child
- provides for the safety of others in the classroom
- is calm
- is respectful to the child
- and provides the child with information on acceptable
(From Accreditation Standards, National Association for
the Education of Young Children)
14.04 Teacher-parent discussions regarding a
child's behavior shall be held in private and shall focus on working as a team
to develop and implement an individualized plan that supports the child's
inclusion and success. (Adapted from NAEYC) Teachers should
request technical assistance from DCCECE on any discipline issues on which they
14.05 If necessary,
intervention shall ensure each child has access to professional services, such
as referrals to the educational cooperative behavioral specialist, the
ADE-funded regional support network for early autism identification, community
mental health center and a private therapist. If a child in question has a
disability and is in the process or has been identified under IDEA, the ABC
program shall follow state special education rules and regulations governing
children demonstrate inappropriate behavior, as indicated by the results of the
DECA given by ABC staff, the ABC program shall consult with the Early Childhood
Special Education program regarding classroom modifications and
14.07 For any ABC
child also receiving special education services, appropriate staff from the
Education Cooperative or school district shall have access to the child at
mutually agreeable times during the program day in order to provide services
outlined in the child's IEP.
For any ABC child requiring the intervention services of special education, the
ABC program shall collaborate with special education professionals to ensure
each party has access to necessary information to provide the appropriate
services. Early Education Special Education teachers shall have access to any
information pertaining to a child receiving special education that is in the
possession of the ABC program that would be necessary for reviewing and
evaluating the child's progress in the general education setting. Access to
proprietary information on the child shall be on a need-to-know
14.09 A child shall not be
dismissed from the ABC program due to a lack of toilet training skills. Nor may
a program refuse to admit a child because of toilet training issues if the
child meets all other age and income eligibility requirements.
14.10 ABC programs shall assist children not
yet toilet-trained with cooperation and enthusiasm. Programs shall not employ
toilet-training techniques which could be construed as punishment or shaming
the child. Programs are encouraged to include the parent or guardian in any
plan so it may be reinforced at home. Funds from ABC may be used to purchase
resources necessary to support toilet training.
- ASSESSMENT AND
15.01 DCCECE and ADE shall
work cooperatively to ensure that the assessments are conducted as required by
Act 49 of 2003.
15.02 Children in
the ABC program shall be assessed annually to provide an indication of each
child's progress towards school readiness.
15.03 The assessment shall address a child's
strengths, progress, and needs and shall serve as a central part of an
effective early childhood program. The assessment instrument selected by DCCECE
and ADE shall be used for children enrolled in an ABC program.
15.04 A comprehensive longitudinal study
shall be implemented to evaluate the ABC program to ensure that the program
goals are achieved. The study will be designed to use sound research-based
evidence to determine whether the programs meet the expected standards. This
research shall include children entering the program at ages three (3) and four
(4) years and follow the children through completion of the fourth grade
benchmark exams. Research results will be provided annually to the Governor and
the Senate Interim Committee on Education and the House Interim Committee on
15.05 Within forty-five
(45) days of entering an ABC program, a child shall receive a routine annual
developmental screening to determine individual needs. The program agency shall
be responsible for completing the developmental screening. The purpose of
screening is to identify developmental delays and/or educational deficiencies.
Children so identified shall be referred to Special Education within seven (7)
calendar days of the date of screening. Programs shall comply with state and
federal laws for Special Needs students.
15.06 The developmental screening must
include, at a minimum, the following areas: vocabulary, visual-motor
integration, language and speech development, fine and gross motor skills,
social skills and developmental milestones.
15.07 DCCECE will provide a list to programs
of all acceptable developmental screening instruments on an annual
15.08 Within 45 days of the
first day of attendance, every child shall receive an age-appropriate health
screening, which includes a hearing and vision test, performed by a licensed
physician or physician assistant. Programs should contact DCCECE for
information on seeking a waiver under Ark. Code Ann.
(Repl. 1993). Programs shall work in partnership with parents to obtain health
15.09 On or
before the first day of attendance, parents or guardians shall provide proof
that their child is current on all required immunizations or is on an
acceptable "catch up" schedule. A waiver from this requirement may be granted
from the Arkansas Department of Health under ACA
15.10 Every classroom shall
be equipped with a computer with high-speed internet access (where available in
the state). Each home-based educator shall also have such access to a computer.
This equipment is necessary for the timely completion of enrollment data in
COPA and assessment data in the Work Sampling System.
- PARENT AND COMMUNITY
16.01 Each program shall
have a plan for parent involvement which includes opportunities for parental
input into program operation and design. Parent involvement plans shall include
a mechanism for parental advice and review of programmatic plans, parent
conferences and a method to involve the parent in the child's educational
16.02 The program shall
have an "open door" policy for parents which encourages visiting and
participation in classroom activities. Opportunities for at least two
parent-teacher conferences shall be given to parents.
16.03 The program shall publish and utilize a
parent handbook specifically for ABC program.
16.04 Each program shall have a plan for
community/school district/educational services cooperative/agency involvement,
which includes a description of how cooperation with other service providers
who are concerned with the education, welfare, health and safety needs of young
children, will be established and maintained. Programs should consider
providing opportunities for community representatives to participate in the
educational activities of the classroom.
17.01 ABC Programs shall be required to
comply with all applicable state and federal laws and guidelines (including the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Guidelines for the Safe
Transportation of Children in School Buses), as well as Child Care Licensing
Standards, regulating the transportation of children.
17.02 Offering transportation to and from an
ABC program is strictly optional. DCCECE and ADE accept no liability for the
transportation of children participating in an ABC program. Program agencies
shall be responsible for the actions of their drivers. Drivers are subject to
all background checks and exclusionary violations applicable to school district
employees having contact with children.
17.03 If an ABC program is approved to use
the "buddy" system on a bus, the Agency shall NOT pair an ABC child with
another child younger than sixth grade.
17.04 An ABC child shall NOT be released from
the vehicle unless an authorized adult meets the vehicle at a stop or in front
of the child's home. Programs shall never release an ABC child from the vehicle
alone. After exiting the vehicle, an ABC child shall not cross a street unless
accompanied by the authorized adult.
- OTHER PROGRAM
18.01 Alternate programs may
include, but are not limited to, Licensed Child Care Family Homes, PAT and
HIPPY. These programs will comply, where applicable, with the regulations
18.02 All ABC funded
alternate program models will be developmentally appropriate, meet applicable
health and safety standards, provide developmental and health screenings and
ensure immunizations of the child served.
- HIPPY REGULATIONS
19.01 HIPPY programs shall meet program
criteria as outlined in the contractual agreement signed by each site with
Arkansas Children's Hospital and HIPPY USA.
19.02 Each HIPPY program serving at least 160
families must have one (1) full-time coordinator, holding a minimum of a
bachelor's degree in education, social work, sociology, psychology, or related
field. Those coordinators without a related degree must obtain at least 12
college course hours in early childhood. Programs with more than 250 children
must also have at least one part-time coordinator who holds a minimum of an
Associates Degree in early childhood education, social work, psychology or
related field. Coordinators shall also meet additional job requirements as
described in the HIPPY USA Coordinator job description. HIPPY Coordinators must
attend National HIPPY Pre-service Training and receive certification.
Regardless of the number of children served, HIPPY Agencies must make provision
to ensure all home-based visitors are supervised appropriately by trained
19.03 Home Based Educators
working 31-40 hours per week may not serve more than 27 families. Minimum
requirements for home educators include a high school diploma/GED and a current
CDA credential. All new HIPPY home-based educators are required to attend new
Home-based Educators training provided by Arkansas State HIPPY.
19.04 Hiring of any HIPPY coordinator or
home-based educator not meeting the requirements of 19.02-19.03 must be
approved by DCCECE through a Staff Qualifications Plan. DCCECE shall monitor
such plans to ensure adequate progress is being made. HIPPY Coordinators
working under a staff qualifications plan must obtain at least 12 college hours
19.05 HIPPY programs must
follow the child eligibility requirements found in Section 4. However, the
cut-off date for determining age eligibility for children served in HIPPY is
December 31 of each year.
order to dually enroll a child in an ABC center and HIPPY, a child must meet
the ABC income requirements (< 200% FPL) plus possess at least one of the
* Parents without HS diploma or GED
* Child lives in a single parent household or has parents
who are divorced
* Birth weight < 5 pounds, 9 ounces
* Parent is < 18 years of age at child's
* Child is a foster child
* Family has a history of substance
* Child has incarcerated parent
* Child has parents who cannot read
* Eligible for services under IDEA
* Child is homeless
* Parent has a history of abuse or neglect or is a victim
of abuse or neglect
* Child or parent has limited English
* Child exhibits a demonstrable developmental delay as
identified through an appropriate screening
* Child is in the custody of family member other than
mother and father
Whichever program enrolls the child at the later date shall be
responsible for verifying eligibility for dual enrollment. Dual enrollment
shall not exceed 25% of the program's total ABC enrollment. If the same Agency
operates both a center-based and home-visiting program, dual enrollment shall
not exceed 25% of the average of both programs' enrollment.
19.07 Center-based and home-visiting programs
shall collaborate in providing services to any child qualifying for dual
enrollment under 19.06.
Arkansas HIPPY Training and Technical Assistance (T and TA) Office will monitor
and assist HIPPY programs throughout the state. Annual program site reviews and
assessments will be forwarded to DCCECE for consideration of program compliance
and funding renewal. The Arkansas HIPPY Office will assist DCCECE with
determining program compliance at the local level.
19.09 HIPPY programs shall meet requirements
as set forth in Sections 4-9 and 13-16.
0 Group meetings should reflect the educational programming
standards as set forth in Section 13 and guidelines set forth in the HIPPY
19.1 1 Any enhancements
designed to complement the HIPPY curriculum must be approved by the Arkansas
HIPPY Office prior to implementation with families.
- PARENTS AS TEACHERS
20.01 PAT Programs shall
meet program criteria as outlined in PAT Program Implementation and Planning
20.02 All PAT Coordinators
must attend the PAT Institute Training and obtain either a Parent Educator
Certificate or an Administrator's Certificate.
20.03 Each program must have a certified
Parent Educator, who may also serve as Coordinator.
20.04 PAT Parent Educators working on a
part-time basis (20 hours per week) should serve 30 and not more than 40
children and their families.
PAT Programs shall operate on a twelve month, year-round basis. Families must
be offered twelve personal visits and six parent group meetings.
20.06 PAT Programs shall follow the child
eligibility requirements found in Section 4.
20.07 PAT programs may dually enroll children
also participating in a center-based program under the guidelines of
20.08 PAT Programs
must coordinate services with HIPPY Programs where both exist in the same
community to avoid duplication of services.
20.09 PAT Programs shall meet requirements as
set forth in Sections 4-7 and 14-16.
- CHILD CARE FAMILY
21.01 Licensed child care family
homes participating in ABC must meet the same requirements as an ABC center,
except where listed in this section.
21.02 Group size for an ABC classroom in a
CCFH shall not exceed sixteen (16) children or maximum licensing capacity,
whichever is less.
21.03 The ABC
family home teacher must possess a minimum of a CDA credential and file a Staff
Qualifications Plan which outlines a plan to complete a four-year degree in
early childhood or child development. For any ABC room with more than 10
children, an additional staff person with a minimum of a CDA credential must
also be present.
21.04 No SQP shall
be approved for an ABC family home teacher to complete a CDA credential or
Associate degree. The only SQP that shall be approved for an ABC family home
teacher is for a four-year degree in early childhood or child
21.05 In evaluating
the ABC program in a CCFH, the applicable ERS for family homes shall be
utilized. Family homes shall be subject to the same guidelines as listed in
22.01 An ABC
program found to be out of compliance with any ABC Rule or Regulation shall be
placed on a 60-day Compliance Plan. During this probationary period, a program
must make all necessary corrections or be subject to termination from the ABC
program. Compliance deficiencies may also result in immediate termination from
the ABC program, denial of future ABC funds, repayment of funds and exclusion
from participation in any DHS programs.
Issues for a compliance plan may
include, but are not limited to:
* Founded licensing or maltreatment complaints
* Violations of minimum licensing standards
* Revocation of Quality Approval status or failing to meet
Quality Approval standards
* Financial mismanagement, including use of funds for programs
other than ABC
* Failure to operate program in accordance with approved budget
or any part of an approved grant application
* Enrolling ineligible children or refusing to enroll an eligible
child due to toilet training issues or non-payment of other child care
* Habitually late reports or missing information
* Failure to report a change in program status within five
* Program deficiencies documented by DCCECE or any authorized
* Erroneous or fraudulent billing of DCCECE vouchers or Special
* Falsification of any document or information
* Hiring of unqualified staff without consultation with DCCECE on
a Staff Qualifications Plan.
* Staff members not meeting the requirements of a Staff
* Dismissing or expelling a child from a program without approval
program who submits a falsified document will be subject to immediate
termination from the ABC program, repayment of funds and possible referral of
program officials and/or responsible employees for criminal
22.04 An ABC program
may appeal any adverse action taken by DCCECE. Such appeals must be in writing
and be received within thirty (30) days of the notice of corrective action. A
program wishing to appeal should send a written notice to Attention: DCCECE
Division Director, P.O. Box 1437, Slot S-140, Little Rock, AR 72203. The
Division Director will make a recommendation to the State Board of Education,
which will issue a final ruling.