July 2020
My Nebraska Story debuts
Every family, business and community in Nebraska has a story—full of hope, imagination, pride and perseverance. Most of all, these are stories about opportunities people need to live, learn, work and thrive in our hometowns. Quality child care plays a key role in how we work together to create prosperous, successful communities.

First Five Nebraska today launched My Nebraska Story , a statewide campaign inviting business leaders, economic developers and others to become involved in strengthening the availability of quality child care in their communities.

My Nebraska Story features more than 30 employers, economic developers, child care professionals, working parents and others from Broken Bow, Gothenburg, Lincoln, McCook, Norfolk, North Platte, Ogallala, Oshkosh, Schuyler, Stuart and York. Public awareness efforts and other materials encourage Nebraskans to reflect on their own role in making quality child care a key element in improving economic opportunity and quality of life throughout the state.

Update on funding available to child care providers

Applications for Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants and Incentive Grants for Reopening Child Care Programs are open until September 30 . Providers may apply for one of these two grants.

  • Stabilization grants of $3,500 for child care homes and $5,500 for center-based providers are designed to cover operating costs, including rent, salaries and more.
  • Incentive grants for reopening child care programs facilitate reopening programs that closed due to the COVID-19 emergency. Priority will be given to providers who meet certain criteria, such as committing to reopen within 30 days, participating in quality improvement initiatives and providing care to children of low-income families or children of essential and emergency workers. Learn more about Stabilization and Reopening grants 

The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act extends the filing deadline for Paycheck Protection Program loans through August 8. It also loosens some of the requirements, which should increase the number of small businesses that qualify. Learn more about Paycheck Protection Program loans

Senators reconvened this week for the remaining 17 days of this year's session which was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis. Expected revenue loss from the pandemic means many bills that were likely to pass previously now face an uncertain future. FFN is working to pass several bills important to early childhood; we'll update their status on our Nebraska Legislation website page. Read more

The newly redesigned Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS) offers a mobile-friendly design, user-friendly navigation, searchable calendar and other improvements to help child care providers manage their information. The Nebraska Dept. of Education launched the redesign after seeking input from early childhood professionals across the state. Read more  

Registration is open 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.

Linda Smith, early childhood initiative director at the Bipartisan Policy Institute, will give the keynote address. She will offer relatable and practical information to connect early childhood and community vitality.

Several opportunities to support early childhood through membership on a state board, council, committee or commission currently are available.

The following groups are recruiting for membership:

Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council – Term: 3 years (Limit 2); meets as needed. Positions open: Service Provider – Mental Health, Professional Development, Head Start, Parent

Board of Early Childhood Education Endowment – Term: 3 years; meets 6 times annually. Positions open: Provider Representative, Rural At-Risk Representative.

The annual Elevate Business Summit, which will be a virtual gathering this year, provides child care professionals across Nebraska with access to resources to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Topics covered include human resources, financial management, marketing, business operations and leadership development. Learn more and join the Elevate mailing list .
Quick Links
The Alliance for Early Success will host " Risk Factor: Racism—The Structures that Drive Black Infant and Maternal Mortality "  on Friday, July 24. Keynote speaker Dr. Crear-Perry will discuss the legacy of slavery and structural racism as key drivers of high rates of Black infant and maternal mortality.

" This Isn't Sustainable for Working Parents" is an insightful look from The Atlantic on how interruption in child care due to the pandemic is profoundly affecting parents, particularly the career trajectories of working mothers.
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.