Act 637 is a recent law in Arkansas which is all about adoption — but not for adoptive parents. In 2023, Arkansas enacted Act 637, a law aimed at raising awareness about adoption in public schools. This legislation requires all public schools in the state to provide one hour of adoption awareness education to students in grades six through twelve during each school year.

Mandating Adoption Education

Act 637 focuses on incorporating adoption awareness into the curriculum for middle and high school students. The law mandates that schools dedicate one hour, ideally at the beginning of the school year, to educate students about various aspects of adoption. The curriculum, developed by the Arkansas State Board of Education, must by law address the following:

  • The societal benefits of adoption: This includes highlighting how adoption creates loving families, provides permanent homes for children in need, and strengthens communities.
  • The different types of adoption: Students will learn about various adoption avenues, such as domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and foster care adoption.
  • The act offers schools flexibility in delivering this instruction. Schools can integrate it into a regular class period or organize a special event dedicated to adoption awareness. This allows schools to tailor the approach to their specific needs and student engagement strategies.

Adoption awareness units are now available online.

Potential Benefits of Act 637

Increased awareness and understanding of adoption is a primary goal of the law. When students have more information about adoption, they are less likely to believe myths about adoption. Students will learn about adoption as a viable family-building option.

The curriculum also promotes positive perceptions of adoption. Learning about the needs within the foster care system and the adoption process might inspire students to consider adoption as a future possibility, either as adoptive parents or as adoption professionals.


Act 637 marks a significant step towards raising awareness about adoption in Arkansas. By integrating adoption education into the public school curriculum, the state aims to dispel misconceptions, promote positive perceptions, and potentially inspire future generations to consider adoption. As the act is implemented, ongoing discussions about curriculum development, teacher training, and fostering open dialogues in classrooms will be crucial to maximizing its positive impact.