June 2020
CARES Act funds will support Nebraska's child care system as state moves toward economic recovery
A number of financial opportunities exist to stabilize and strengthen Nebraska's child care infrastructure through Nebraska's $20 million allocation of federal funds from passage of the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other federally funded grant and loan options also are available. 

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has announced the following grant opportunities:

Child care provider stabilization grants : With applications expected to be available in early July, these o ne-time grant awards to family child care homes ($3,500) and center-based programs ($5,500) may be used to cover operational costs, rent and mortgage, staff salaries, cleaning and personal protective supplies and related needs. Approximate funding: $8,705,000

Incentive grants for reopening child care programs : These grants facilitate reopening of child care programs that have temporarily suspended operations during the public health emergency. Providers must commit to reopening within 30 days, participate in quality improvement initiatives and deliver care to children of low-income families or parents working in essential occupations. Approximate funding: $1,000,000

Child care relief fund grants: These funds are set aside for eligible child care providers who are on the waitlist for the grants administered by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative. Approximate funding: $267,000

Other financial relief options for child care providers include:

SBA EIDL loans : Long-term, low-interest loans intended to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Applications already submitted will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.   Learn more

Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act : E xtends the “covered period,” reduces the proportion of proceeds that must be spent on payroll costs and establishes a "safe harbor" for businesses unable to return to their pre-pandemic business level due to compliance with health and safety guidelines for slowing the spread of the virus. Learn more

Small Business Stabilization grants : Deadline to apply is Friday, June 26. Nebraska businesses, including child care centers, with 5 to 49 employees that have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment since March 13 are eligible to apply. Each grant is $12,000; non-profit organizations are not eligible for these grants. Learn more

New federal bill: A bill currently in Congress (HR7027 and S. 3874) would create the Child Care Stabilization Fund and appropriate $50 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Grants would enable child care providers who have remained open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19 to continue or resume operations. We'll update information on this important legislation as it's available.

New DHMs loosening restrictions on child care programs throughout the state went into effect June 22. All but four counties entered Phase 3 of the state's reopening process. Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties entered Phase 2.    Read more

The  Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry joined 40 other chambers in signing a letter to Congress asking for federal support for licensed child care, which will play a key role in getting parents back to work in the months ahead. We're heartened to see child care providers recognized for their important contribution to Nebraska's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read the letter
The Nebraska Child Care Referral Network website has been updated to include Spanish-speaking providers and those who accept children with special needs.

Child care providers also can manage other information about their business on the site, including number of open slots by age group, contact information and website address.

The Network will receive additional funding with CARES Act dollars administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, so we look forward to continued development of this newly launched platform to connect parents with child care providers.
The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative  has announced that the Elevate20 Business Summit will be online and on-demand this summer. Nebraska urgently needs child care providers to thrive—as skilled caregivers and as small business owners. The Summit will be a great opportunity for providers to learn more about achieving and sustaining financial stability, particularly in today's challenging environment. Stay tuned for more details. Read more
Check out our weekly First Five Nebraska Digest for the latest news on COVID-19 and other topics of interest to early childhood professionals, policymakers, parents and community leaders.

Included in the Digest are updates on the Nebraska Legislature and state agencies, federal policy, business and economic development and state and national early childhood organizations.
Save the Date!
Please join us for this year's virtual Thriving Children, Families and Communities Conference, Sept. 14, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Community leaders from across Nebraska will come together to focus on high-quality early childhood education and its connection to economic development and community growth and vitality. Learn more
Quick Links
Why do parents need to talk to their kids about racism? What can African-American families tell their children about racial identity, racial violence and beauty standards? Here's a conversation with  Buffett Early Childhood Institute  leaders Lisa Roy and Dalhia Lloyd in the wake of George Floyd's killing. Watch now 
Nebraska child care providers and providers across the nation are experiencing serious financial hardship. Many have closed their doors, and very few who remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic are operating at full enrollment. Our economy cannot fully reopen until child care is supported and stable. Read more

Legislature to Reconvene

 The 106th Nebraska Legislature will reconvene July 20 for the final 17 days of the 2020 session. Senators are scheduled to adjourn sine die August 13.

The Legislative session was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 emergency.
For information on coronavirus in Nebraska or to take a health assessment survey, visit Test Nebraska . See the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services website for a state overview, guidance documents, Directed Health Measures and many additional resources.