October 2020
Senators learn how the pandemic is impacting early childhood in Nebraska
Experts in early childhood shared the devastating impacts COVID-19 is having on our state's child care programs and professionals at a legislative hearing for LR390, an interim study introduced by Senator John Stinner. The study examines the financial and economic fallout affecting the early childhood workforce and industry, and sets the stage for discussions on how to finance a high-quality early childhood system in Nebraska.

LR390 grew out of findings in a report by the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission, a 40-member group of public and private sector leaders charged with developing a comprehensive plan to strengthen and expand the state's early childhood workforce.

In addition to Senator Stinner, legislators heard from University of Nebraska President Ted Carter; Marjorie Kostelnik, UNL professor and co-chair of the Workforce Commission; Cathey Huddleston-Casas and Kate Gallagher of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute; Stephanie Beasley from the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services; Mariah Stowe, owner of Splash of Color child care in Lincoln and Diane Temme Stinton, CEO of TMCO, a longtime Lincoln contract metal manufacturing company.

During the hearing, FFN Deputy Director Elizabeth Everett shared findings from the Bottom Line, a recent report published by FFN and UNL’s Bureau of Business Research on the economic consequences of inadequate child care in Nebraska. Based on pre-COVID-19 data, the report shows Nebraskans experienced more than $745 million annually in combined direct losses impacting family incomes, business productivity and state tax revenues. The true picture is likely to be even more dire as the public health emergency continues to destabilize the state's child care industry.

As part of the LR390 study, Senator Stinner is asking parents and business owners across Nebraska to share their experiences with child care during the pandemic via a survey. A summary of responses will be shared with the Legislature's Appropriations Committee and others. Take Senator Stinner's survey

The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative is offering a free Licensing Toolkit program for caregivers interested in becoming licensed family child care providers. It's self-paced and helps participants fulfill state licensing requirements, providing four toolkits along the way with abundant resources and materials. They also receive hands-on support from a mentor who assists them throughout the licensing process. Read more

Working parents get pulled in countless directions—and child care issues sometimes prevent them from being fully engaged on the job. It's important that employers understand and support working parents. Check out our guide on how parents can help employers understand the challenges they face. Read more
FFN's Strategic Partnerships Advisor Mike Feeken presented a webinar for Nebraska's South Central Economic Development District on the importance of early childhood in communities' economic development. SCEDD works to provide a positive economic climate for growth, focusing on bringing new businesses to rural areas and helping retain and recruit young families.
Have you applied for the School Readiness Tax Credit?

Working together, we've fixed Nebraska's School Readiness Tax Credit so it can be used by more of the hardworking early childhood professionals it was originally intended to help. If you're a child care owner participating in Step Up to Quality, you or your employees may be eligible for a refundable tax credit ranging from $532 to $1,597.

From remote learning to video calls with grandparents, young children are engaging with digital technology more than ever. While this presents incredible opportunities for their learning and development, it also raises concerns about appropriate uses of technology in early childhood.

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is hosting a free webinar October 29 on how appropriate technology use can support children's healthy development. The event is in the evening to accommodate parents, early childhood professionals and community members. Register here

Lexington's Communities for Kids group will provide training and support for bilingual child care providers with funding through a Preschool Development Grant from Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.

The grant will fund development of a pilot training series for bilingual providers. Communities for Kids will work with the Nebraska Dept. of Education to develop the instruction, which is the first of its kind in Dawson County. Read more
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.