Event Highlights Impact of Child Care Crisis on Arkansas Families
Chief Bethell and Senator Irvin read to kids and discuss child care challenges for Arkansas parents and providers
Mountain View, AR – Today, Mountain View Chief of Police George Bethell and State Senator Missy Irvin (R-18) visited Busy Bee Day Care to read to children and discuss the challenges faced by child care providers and parents in Arkansas.
According to a recent report by Council for a Strong America, studies show that children in higher-quality child care are better-prepared for school at age 4 than those in lower-quality care, but finding these centers is a struggle for Arkansas parents, especially parents of infants and toddlers. More than one-third of Arkansans live in a child care “desert,” where there are at least three children for every licensed child care slot. This lack of access to child care leaves a greater burden on providers like Busy Bee Day Care to fill in the gap and stretch their resources to accommodate as many children as possible. Chief Bethell and Senator Irvin talked with Busy Bee Program Director Rita Ward to find out more about the devastating consequences of the current crisis.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to dealing with this child care crisis. Families in Arkansas depend on quality child care providers to keep their children safe while they work, and the children depend on the nurturing, stimulating environments those providers create that are necessary for healthy brain development. These child care providers are also vital in helping reduce the human and fiscal costs of future crime by helping kids get on the right path towards success early in life,” said Mountain View Chief of Police George Bethell, member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
“As a lawmaker, I understand it’s our responsibility to protect and expand programs that increase the affordability and availability of quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers. We must continue to foster innovations at the state and local level that address this problem and support current providers like Ms. Ward. The future of our children depends on it,” said State Senator Missy Irvin (R-18).
“I’m consistently impressed by how much my students learn and improve. When it comes time for them to go to school, I am proud to know that they are prepared, in part due to the resources we’ve been able to provide them. It breaks my heart to know that only one in ten children in Arkansas have access to the care that they need when I see how well it has helped the kids here at Busy Bee, and I hope that more work is done to help those children get the quality care they deserve,” said Rita Ward, Program Director at Busy Bee Day Care.
The current child care crisis also has a devastating economic impact on our communities. The report highlights a 2019 ReadyNation national study that found that the lack of child care for parents of infants or toddlers costs Arkansas an estimated $348 million annually in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.
Read more about the impact of the child care crisis in Arkansas and what can be done to fix it here.
See photos from the event below: