When people call the state hotline to report suspected child abuse or neglect, about 80 percent are assigned to the Division of Children and Family Services. The other 20 percent are considered more serious, and are assigned to the State Police, which has a Division of Crimes Against Children. The Division has 428 family services workers. Their average caseload in March was 23.3, which is down from 25.5 last October. The state’s goal is to bring it below 20.
School Safety Commission to Deliver Second Set of Recommendations
The Arkansas School Safety Commission has been set up again to update measures to protect students while they are in school. The governor issued an executive order to reinstate the commission in the wake of the mass murder of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.
State Provides Relief Funding for Child Care Centers
The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was especially hard for child care centers, so the Arkansas Department of Human Services is administering about $286 million to help them cover expenses and remain in business. So far, about $110 million of the relief funding has been sent to child care providers, according to the department’s Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education.
Added Slots For Virtual Statewide Charter Schools Have Been Approved
Two new virtual statewide charter schools have been approved by the Arkansas Board of Education.
Forestry Division Provides Services in Urban Areas Too
The state Forestry Division is known for managing woodlands, helping control fires and supporting rural fire departments. Not so well known is its work in cities and towns. In mid-May, the division hosted forestry professionals from across the Southeast for a training event designed to improve the skills of Urban Strike Force Teams.
Lockheed Martin and Airbus to Manufacture Air Force Refueling Systems in Arkansas
Lockheed Martin and Airbus executives announced that western Arkansas would be the location of a new plant to manufacture the LMXT strategic tanker boom refueling system for the U.S. Air Force.
Broadband Consultant Presents Road Map to Legislators
Arkansas is making a massive public investment to bring broadband access to every corner of the state. Last year the state hired a consultant firm, Broadband Development Group (BDG), to develop a master plan. The firm’s chief technical officer made a lengthy presentation to the legislative Joint Performance Review Committee.
New Laws Will Change Voting Procedures for May 24 Primary Election
Last year the legislature enacted a series of new election laws, and four of them were challenged in court by plaintiffs who argued that they restricted voting rights.
Reparations Board Helps Pay Certain Expenses Incurred by Crime Victims
The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board last year awarded claims to 1,900 crime victims; 1,335 were victims of sexual assault and 565 were victims other crimes.
Consultants Release Statewide Map of Broadband Access
A six-month survey of Internet access in Arkansas has been completed, and state officials now have a more accurate roadmap of which regions need more investment in broadband technologies.