November 2020
What is access to reliable, quality child care really worth to Nebraska?
The answer may be as much as a 13% annual return on every dollar we invest in high-quality programs for young children, especially those most at risk. Furthermore, Nebraska researchers say our state may lose nearly $1.4 billion annually if we fail to strengthen the state’s early childhood infrastructure.  

Those were the key messages of a First Five Nebraska webinar featuring Professor James Heckman, Nobel Laureate economist with the University of Chicago. He was joined by Dr. Eric Thompson and Dr. David Rosenbaum of the University of Nebraska’s Bureau of Business Research, who discussed findings of The Bottom Line, First Five Nebraska’s recently published study on the economic impacts of child care gaps in our state.

State senators, economic development and higher education officials, city administrators and early childhood professionals attending the webinar learned Nebraska's return on investment in high-quality early childhood education can pay tremendous dividends. This is especially important as we see the need to strengthen the state's overall early childhood infrastructure as communities work to revitalize our economy in the wake of the pandemic.
See how investments in our youngest children benefit our families and economy today and going forward.

State Senator John Stinner and the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, First Five Nebraska and the Buffett Early Childhood Institute are working together to create a report on findings from interim study LR390 and provide possible solutions and policy recommendations for future legislative sessions.

LR390 was introduced to examine the fiscal and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nebraska's early childhood workforce and early childhood care and education system. Read more

To help market Nebraska to entrepreneurs, business leaders and working parents, First Five Nebraska recently partnered with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to ensure early childhood education is included on the state’s primary recruiting website, The Good Life is Calling. The website invites prospective residents to consider all the amenities the good life has to offer, from low unemployment and cost of living to world-class education and quality of life.

First Five Nebraska created Bold Beginnings for the website, highlighting how Nebraska’s early childhood efforts spark long-term economic vitality in communities statewide. Read more

Employers, chamber of commerce officials, economic developers and other business leaders have a real stake in the availability of quality child care for their employees. It allows families to maintain stable schedules, enables parents to be fully engaged at work and increases workplace productivity. We've outlined steps to help leaders support their employees and make the case for quality early child care in their community. Read more

Nebraska Step up to Quality has created a video tutorial on how to complete the attestation form needed to apply for the Employee School Readiness Tax Credit. Owners and staff working in programs participating in Step Up to Quality may qualify for the refundable personal tax credit ranging from $532 to $1,597. A nonrefundable tax credit is available for owners or operators of eligible child care programs. The tax credits were passed by the Nebraska Legislature to support investment in quality early care and education and increase access to quality early learning across the state.

Grand Island Public Schools is turning a vacant retail store into a 'dream' space that will allow them to serve more children. A large donation from JBS meatpacking company made the renovation possible. With private and public entities working together, more of Grand Island's youngest children will benefit from quality early care and learning to prepare them for school and more. Read more

Videos and presentation materials from the 2020 Thriving Children, Families, & Communities Conference are now available. They include the program, slides and other resources, State Senator John Stinner's survey for parents and business owners, legislative district maps and press releases. Download here
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.