Lawmakers note need for expanded child care

credit: Vimeo Pro

Child care is big business in Arkansas, where 51% of parents spend more than 20% of their income on child care, according to industry figures.

That's not counting people who stay home because of the cost of care, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

The president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce told lawmakers at a forum last week that the state has a child care shortage that remains a major choke point in the labor supply.

The city of Fayetteville has announced it will draw $2 million from its remaining federal American Rescue Plan money to cover a year's worth of child care costs for low-income families.

The original proposal to release $500,000 in December drew 100 applications and requests for 200 more applications.Lawmakers will take a hard look at the requirements on small, home-based child care, says one of the legislators at the forum.

Those requirements include commercial-grade ventilators for kitchens and for sprinkler systems for fire prevention, she says.

The state will also look at regulations restricting such centers, including local zoning restrictions for residential areas.

"They're for local control until they're not," says one of the legislators at the forum.

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