Early Care and Education Projects

Enhancing the quality of care and education for young children throughout Arkansas.

Who We Are

Early Care and Education Projects (ECEP), in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care Early Childhood Education, provides statewide training programs for early educators.  More than 200 trainers throughout Arkansas deliver courses in a variety of locations, including childcare centers, public schools, vocational centers, technical institutes, community colleges, and other post-secondary education facilities.

online courses


COVID-19 Health and Education Hotline

from The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Childcare and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE)


The DCCECE staff has been working at the Arkansas Health and Education Hotline to answer incoming calls from child care centers who are experiencing COVID-19 related issues. The Hotline staff can guide providers through the next steps they need to take when they’ve had a positive case or a probable close contact.

If providers need help or have had a positive case, please call the Arkansas Health and Education Hotline at 1-833-504-0155.

A Positive COVID-19 Reporting Resource form can also be completed before calling, so the that Hotline will have all the needed information. This form can also be found on the DHS DCCECE homepage.

added 08/24/2020

New Background Check System for Arkansas Child Care Providers

from The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Childcare and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE)


Attention Arkansas Early Care and Education Leaders,

It is finally here! The new system for Background Checks is up and running. Providers can now sign up for their own portal access in the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) to complete their background checks. Provider use of this system will be mandatory starting October 1, 2020; although, it is highly encouraged that all providers start using it now.

Below are two letters for you to read and use. The first is for early childhood education/child care providers and the other is for residential and placement providers.  Starting Monday, July 6th, please share this information broadly with your team and networks by email, website, social media, etc. Refer to the DHS Background Check Website for any questions about the background check system.

Child Care Provider Letter for New Background Check Process

Residential Placement Provider Letter for New Background Check Process

added 07/06/2020

Additional Federal Child Care Funding to Help Centers Essential Workers

Providers given new pandemic procedures today to ensure safety

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.)—Funding is now available to help licensed child care centers cover costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and to cover child care costs for some essential workers in Arkansas, a group of State Legislators and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) announced Friday. 

“Safe and high-quality child care is critically important to families trying to get back to work and to our economy as a whole,” said DHS Deputy Director for Children and Families Keesa Smith. “This funding will help address the safety and economic issues for child care that have arisen as a result of this pandemic, and the enhanced safety procedures will help assure parents that we at DHS are committed to protecting children.”

The DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) issued additional pandemic procedures to licensed child care providers today aimed at stopping the spread. The guidance follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations and requires screening for all individuals (staff, children, and families) entering a facility and prior to transporting; limiting group size to 10 or less, including staff and children; requiring staff to wear masks; serving individual rather than family-style meals, and more frequent handwashing and sanitation.  

These precautions are in addition to regular licensing requirements related to infectious disease. DCCECE also outlined how federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding of over $41 million in Child Care Development Block Grant funds will be used to:

  • Support licensed providers so they can remain open or re-open as appropriate through continued supplemental voucher payments through August, to coincide with school start dates. Estimated $15 million
    • Child care providers will get an additional $10 per infant/toddler, $7 per preschool, and $5 school-age/out of school time care for children receiving federal child care assistance.
    • One-time supplemental maintenance payment for licensed providers open March 13 and that have remained open through May.
    • Funding is based on licensed capacity and quality-level programs.
    • Providers do not need to take any action. DHS will process and send payments for all providers open during this time. Re-opening providers should contact their licensing specialist.
  • Help licensed child care providers cover costs of cleaning and sanitizing facilities to ensure safety and meet required pandemic protocols. Estimated $8 million
    • Reimbursement for actual costs of deep cleaning and sanitization after programs are advised by the Arkansas Department of Health that they must close.
    • One-time payment for so centers can meet new pandemic procedures for safe operations, including social distancing requirements in the building and while offering transportation, masks for staff, and screening processes.
    • Funding is based on licensed capacity and quality level-programs and will be available for licensed providers who remain open or re-open between May 4 and August 31, 2020.
    • Providers should contact their licensing specialist to make this request.
  • Provide short-term child care assistance to essential workers. Federal requirements made it clear that essential workers should be able to access this support regardless of income (as funds allow). The funds would be payments to a qualified child care provider that accepts vouchers – not to the workers themselves. Estimated $18 million
    • Essential personnel, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, includes but is not limited to emergency responders, health care providers, public health personnel, manufacturing workers, sanitation workers, child care and early childhood staff, and individuals involved in the food supply chain during the pandemic.
    • The vouchers will be paid during the public health emergency. Payments would cover the full cost of child care during that time as funding allows.
    • Applications will be processed and approved in the order received, and assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. 
    • A simplified application can be found here. Completed applications should be sent to FamilySupport@dhs.arkansas.gov.
“Child care and early childhood programs in Arkansas are committed to doing everything they can to support families and keep children safe, as evidenced by their willingness to remain open during this difficult time,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams. “DHS is excited to support those efforts and to ensure funding is available for those essential workers who need it.”

DCCECE licenses about 2,000 child care centers in Arkansas. Of those, more than half have remained open during the public health emergency.

Arkansas Department of Human Services
700 S Main St
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
(501) 682-1001
TDD: (501) 682-8820
added 05/18/2020

URGENT NEWS: Financial Support for Child Care Centers!


As you may have heard in the news, Congress is about to pass another bill to provide financial support to small businesses, including nonprofit and for-profit child care centers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill could be signed into law as early as this Friday!

We want to draw your attention to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which provides a grant up to $10,000 and a loan based on the size of the organization.  The application is a simple, four-page application that you can access through the SBA website.  You do not need to work with a bank, and they ask only a few basic questions about your center's finances.  

Below is hard copy of the online application (so you’ll know how to prepare) and a short summary of how the loan works, how to apply, and the financial information you need to gather for the application.   

Once the bill is signed by the President, SBA will open up the portal for accepting applications.  We do not know yet when that will happen, but it could be as early as Friday or this weekend.  The portal will stay open as long as there are funds available to meet demand, but it is expected that it may be no longer than 72 hours!


  • Take a look at the attachments ASAP to determine if you would like to apply.
  • If so, gather the information that is requested so that you can be ready to fill out your application AS SOON AS the portal opens.
  • We will send out another note when it opens, but you can also check the SBA website yourself.
  • When it opens, go ahead and apply if you feel comfortable.

Copy of Application

Instructions for Child Care Providers


If you need help filling out the application, our partners at Communities Unlimited, which is based in Fayetteville and has staff located around the state, are offering FREE technical assistance over the phone.  They are open Monday through Friday, 8 AM—8 PM and Saturday from 9 AM—1 PM.  Call (479) 443-2700 to schedule an appointment.

added 04/23/2020


The below MLR links are the most current version provided by the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, effective January 1, 2020. The latest revisions are highlighted in yellow. Please check the publication date on the cover page at your center or home to ensure that it is this newest version.

Visit the Division's website for more info.

added 01/2020



Everyone at Early Care and Education Projects and throughout the College of Education and Health Professions and the University of Arkansas is both happy and sad to announce the retirement of Dr. Bobbie Biggs from her position at ECEP and as a professor with the Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resource and Communication Disorders effective January 1, 2020. Dr. Biggs' leaving marks the end of an era for ECEP. She saw the value and need for quality education and care for Arkansas' children, and so began her endeavor to fulfill this need with job-embedded sustained professional development for those who work closest to these young children by founding Early Care and Education Projects.

Dr. Biggs has submitted 50 grants since 1976, with 43 awarded for a total of more than $15 million. Most of these grants involved curriculum, training, or both, and all were competitive except those less than $20,000, which were a sole-source contract. She has published more than 160 articles, chapters, papers, reports, newsletters, curriculum guides, and content standards since 1982. Dr. Biggs has taught 13 undergraduate and 20 graduate courses and has advised more than 125 students in writing dissertations, educational specialist projects, and theses since 1976. She has coordinated training activities for approximately 500 trainers while working through 40 different educational institutions and agencies over the years. Dr. Biggs has served on multiple boards and committees across the state and has received numerous awards and honors during this time.

We extend good wishes to Dr. Biggs in her new undertakings and appreciate the support she has provided ECEP during her tenure. We are indebted to her vision and commitment, which has propelled us to our present position in the industry. Her work has assured our success for many more years to come!

added 01/2020


There is still an ongoing glitch right now for older classes in the Arkansas Professional Development Registry, not displaying the entered attendance on the training transcripts of its members. The PDR admin team within the Division is aware of the problem but, unfortunately, does not have a timeline for resolving the issue. Therefore, any missing attendance on training transcripts is not beyond our control since ECEP does not oversee the PDR.

However, in the meantime, if anyone requires proof of attendance for any ECEP course, please email Michelle Weise for a Verification of Hours form listing the attended training dates and hours.

Please note, this glitch also includes non-ECEP courses.

added 08/2019

All ECEP courses registered on the Arkansas Professional Development Registry are free for anyone to enroll in and receive non-college credit. Instead, ECEP courses lead to industry-recognized credentials, certifications, continuing education units (CEUs), or other evidence of class completion to meet personal or professional requirements.

All ECEP courses meet the Arkansas Department of Education requirements governing professional development. However, the awarding of professional development credit is based solely on the discretion of your local school district. Learn more by reviewing the Arkansas Department of Education Rules Governing Professional Development (Feb 2016).

Interested in becoming a trainer for ECEP?  Find out how