May 2020
Nebraska's Preschool Development Grant
is an important step forward
Nebraska's new Preschool Development Grant (PDG) award will help strengthen reach, efficiency and coordination of early childhood programs throughout the state, which will be key in allowing parents to remain fully engaged in the workforce as we look ahead to rebuilding our state's economy.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced May 13 that Nebraska has been awarded a Preschool Development Birth through Five renewal grant  from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Nebraska will receive $8.9 million for each of the next three years. The grant award is matched by $2.7 million annually in existing state and private funds.

First Five Nebraska was one of several organizations who developed the state's grant application. Jason Prokop, director of First Five Nebraska, said the PDG grant coincides with increased public attention on the importance of early childhood programs in Nebraska's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nebraska's economic recovery efforts are fundamentally connected to the strength of our early childhood system," said Prokop. "Absent a robust, well-coordinated and quality-focused child care network, Nebraska's working parents will face even more hurdles to remain fully engaged in the workforce, provide for their families and help rebuild the state economy." Read more

Legislature to Reconvene

 The 106th Nebraska Legislature will reconvene July 20 for the last 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.
Congratulations Nebraska Early Childhood
Policy Leadership Academy graduates

We'd like to recognize members of FFN's second Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy class, who over the past seven months built skills to engage local and state policymakers and influencers on strengthening early childhood in Nebraska. The program emphasized the importance of quality care during children's earliest years, and the critical role child care plays in communities' vitality and economic growth. Thank you all for stepping up to add your voice to the early childhood conversation in Nebraska!

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 from Governor Ricketts, state agencies, business and economic developers, state and national early childhood organizations, the Nebraska Legislature and federal policymakers.
The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary source of federal funding for child care assistance to states, including subsidies for eligible families.

Executive Order 20-08 issued by the Governor's office in response to COVID-19 temporarily allows child care providers to be reimbursed on enrollment rather than attendance. This is a positive step, but additional state supports likely will be needed. As we tap into CCDBG funding to support child care, we need to act strategically to benefit children, their parents and our state's early childhood workforce.  Read more
Quick Links
We urge Nebraskans to complete their Census form. Over the next 10 years, critical decisions affecting Nebraska families and communities will be made based on Census data gathered this year.

The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative shared a podcast of child care financing experts discussing assistance for providers and ways to think through prioritizing business expenses and support economic viability in the short- and long-term. Read more

The  Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services  has released tips for helping children grow in resiliency, even during a pandemic. Parents' and caregivers' time, words and problem-solving can help children cope with anxiety arising from fear of the illness or change in their environment or routine. Helpline numbers and other resources also are included. 
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.