April 2020
New website connects Nebraska parents
with child care providers
A new website is helping parents find licensed child care providers in their area who have openings. The project grew out of the need to connect health care, first responders and other essential workers with child care options during the COVID-19 pandemic with the hundreds of licensed child care professionals struggling to keep their businesses open during this uncertain time. FFN worked closely with public and private sector partners to create the Nebraska Child Care Referral Network, which went live last week.

The website, www.NEchildcarereferral.org,  lets parents search by distance from home, ZIP code, providers who accept subsidy, those who participate in Step Up to Quality and keyword. Providers listed in the network include both family child care homes and center-based care for children from birth through age 12.

The network is the first of its kind in Nebraska, and while it was created to help solve an immediate need during the COVID-19 pandemic, the website is a first step in creating a robust database to serve the needs of parents and providers after the current health emergency has passed.

"Through this effort, we've collected data on the number of available child care spots by age group," said Ben Baumfalk, FFN's Policy Research Analyst. "We've not collected this data before, so it's a first step in creating a permanent framework to assist families in finding child care in the future."

As this unprecedented public health crisis continues to unfold, FFN continues to monitor developments and provide current information on issues affecting children, parents and the professional early childhood community.

The CARES Act, passed last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizes the urgency of our nation’s educational needs and earmarks $30.75 billion of Education Stabilization Funds to help states' education systems recover. Learn how much federal assistance Nebraska will receive and what it means for our state's early childhood education programs.
Paycheck Protection Program receives additional funding

President Trump signed H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, into law last week. This $484 billion COVID-19 relief bill is the fourth COVID-19-related package passed by Congress. This bill provides an additional $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program.

Lawmakers are expected to return to Washington, D.C., May 4. At that time, negotiations will begin on the next recovery package. As many policymakers have signaled, more still needs to be done to help struggling industries and our economy during the pandemic.

Watch for our Digest of latest news on the COVID-19 crisis of interest to child care providers, parents, community leaders and policymakers.

Child care keeps Nebraska's communities working, especially parents who are emergency response personnel or working in law enforcement, grocery, transportation and other essential jobs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. As economic development groups respond to emergency needs of local businesses, FFN urges them to make sure needs of child care providers aren't overlooked. Here are a few ways economic development groups can help child care providers.

Quick Links

 Governor Pete Ricketts is holding daily news conferences and weekly town hall meetings on COVID-19 in Nebraska. Viewers are encouraged to submit questions for the town hall meetings ahead of the broadcast. View the press conferences at 2 p.m. daily on NET online and the town halls Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on NET television .