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The FFN Digest

Here's a look at what's impacting Nebraska during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Click the links for more detailed information.  

August 28

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • First Five Nebraska publishes The Bottom Line: FFN's new report estimates the annual economic impact of child care gaps on Nebraska families, businesses and revenues. Based on research conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bureau of Business Research, the study estimates the state sustains direct economic losses of $745 million per year as a result of inadequate child care access for working parents. Read an overview of findings in The Bottom Line.
  • Child care stabilization grants available now through Sept. 30: Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants will cover operating costs and Incentive Grants for Reopening Child Care Programs will cover costs for programs that closed due to COVID-19, with priority given to providers who meet certain criteria.
  • The second round results of the COVID-19 impact survey now available: The June 16-28 survey, conducted by the UNO Center for Public Affairs Research, reports stabilization of employment for 60% of responding businesses, but decreasing consumer confidence and ability to draw back customers.
  • Free GROW Nebraska business webinar: Free and Low Cost Small Business Resources on Thursday, Sept. 17 at noon CDT. Preregister here.

 

State Government

  • Phase 3 DHMs extended to September 13: Phase 3 directed health measures (DHMs) are being extended through Sept.13. This impacts 66 Nebraska counties. All counties in Phase 3 will move to Phase 4 on Sept. 14 unless hospitalizations change dramatically. Those 66 counties will remain in Phase 4 until Oct. 31. Phase 4 moves restrictions on child care, restaurants, bars, churches and other businesses to guidance only. Read more about Phase 4 DHMs.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

  • Child Care Aware of America has new blog postParents & Employers Pay the Price: COVID-19 Erodes Child Care Systems. The blog explores how COVID-19-induced erosion of an already broken U.S. child care system that's is impacting both parents with young children and their employers, and offers suggestions on what CCR&Rs, providers and parents can do now to support our child care system.
  • ECICC posts meeting dates: The Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council (ECICC) has released their upcoming meeting schedule for the rest of this year and next year; the Council invite public comment at all meetings. See more information on NDE's website
  • RAPID EC Project releases briefBearing Witness: Family Voices That We Can’t Ignore examines family financial well-being two weeks after benefits from the CARES Act expired.
  • Center for American Progress report focuses on adversity: “Adversity in Early Childhood: The Role of Policy in Creating and Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences,” contains new data on the prevalence of ACEs among young children from birth to age 3, and the variance by state.
  • Home Grown has two new resources:
  • Child Care Aware of America to host Roundtable series: Various audiences that have a stake in the future of child care, including providers, families and businesses are encouraged to join and share their perspectives on what they want and need from the child care system, and what they are willing to do to make change happen. Those interested in participating should visit the Child Care Aware website, select the appropriate Roundtable and click on the attendance/registration link
    • The Families Roundtable is Saturday, September 12, 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. CDT
    • The Employers Roundtable is Thursday, September 17, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. CDT
    • The Child Care Providers Roundtable is Saturday, September 26, 1 - 3 p.m. CDT
  • Sesame Street in Communities adds interactive courseMany Right Ways: Exploring Quality in Family Child Care explores many ways family child care providers and all caregivers can ensure high-quality care in their setting.
  • NCFF publishes new blog post: Nebraska Children and Families Foundation has published Rooted in Adult AND Child Relationships: Self-Care Bingo, Engaging Toys, and More for the Whole Family on the importance of self-care for providers, families and children as we move through the pandemic.
  • Step Up to Quality blog post: New blog discusses How to Talk to Young Children About Race.
  • Remote learning added as option in referral network: Child care providers participating in the Nebraska Child Care Referral Network can now indicate whether they offer care for children engaged in remote learning. The website allows parents to search for providers based on criteria such as child age or participation in the child care subsidy. The new feature will allow parents to identify programs that are equipped  to care for children who are attending school remotely.

 


August 14, 2020

State Government

  • DHHS issues new guidance on remote learning: Child care providers now can bill child care subsidy for the time they assist children with remote learning. The revised guidance is effective immediately. For more information, check out the FAQ or email dhhs.ccsubsidy@Nebraska.gov.
  • New Step Up to Quality blog postStep 2: Training is the second in a three-part series on moving up the steps to improve child care quality. See the NECPRS Training Calendar for scheduled sessions.  

 

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • Small business legislation webinar: Wednesday, August 19, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., the Entrepreneur's Education Collaborative is presenting a webinar on statewide legislative accomplishments for the 2020 session, including CARES Act, COVID-19 and child care. The featured guest is Jennifer Creager, senior director of public policy for the Greater Omaha ChamberRegister here or watch on Facebook Live.
  • Financial support and loan webinarsThe Nebraska Enterprise Fund is hosting these free business webinars in August:
  • Social media and legal information webinarsGreater Omaha SCORE is hosting the following webinars in August:
    • Thursday, August 20 at 12:00 p.m. CDT  Closing a Business: How to Legally Close Your Company. Register here.
    • Thursday, August 27 at 9:30 a.m. CDT  Social Media: Facebook & Instagram webinar. Register here.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

  • BECI releases new survey results: Nebraska’s early care and education providers are under extraordinary stress and need more support to stay in business through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Buffett Early Childhood Institute survey of 1,000 licensed care providers. Read more
  • NECC to provide licensing toolkits: The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative is launching an initiative to provide Licensing Toolkits to aspiring and current child care providers wishing to become licensed within Nebraska. Learn more here.
  • Alliance for Early Success to host webinar: It is Time for Congress to Act: Emergency Federal Child Care Update is scheduled for August 17 at 1 p.m. CDT. It will feature child care advocacy leaders discussing the lay-of-the-land in Congress for the critical need for robust child care funding. Registration and details here.
  • Wallace Foundation releases guidanceThe CARES Act: Five Things That School and District Leaders Need to Know Now summarizes major education provisions in the CARES Act.

 


August 7, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • Child care stabilization grants available now through Sept. 30: Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants will cover operating costs and Incentive Grants for Reopening Child Care Programs will cover costs for programs that closed due to COVID-19, with priority given to providers who meet certain criteria.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

 

State Government

  • Background checks for license-exempt providers: The Nebraska Legislature passed LB1185 on August 3, to require license-exempt child care providers to undergo background checks for staff members to participate in the Child Care Subsidy program. The bill also requires Nebraska DHHS to seek federal funding to assist home-based providers with the expenses of fingerprinting and background checks. 

 


July 31, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • My Nebraska Story debuts: We're proud to announce our new statewide messaging campaign, My Nebraska Story, which invites Nebraskans to consider the importance of quality child care in creating flourishing children and families, successful businesses and vibrant communities. Chamber of Commerce and economic development officials, early childhood professionals and parents in 11 communities across the state share their stories of how quality child care contributes to economic opportunity in their area. First Five Nebraska partnered with Nebraska Children and Families Foundation/Communities for Kids and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to develop the campaign. 
  • McCook Gazette features My Nebraska Story: In "Campaign boosts child care efforts," Andy Long, director of McCook Economic Development Corp., said, "We heard from multiple employers that they were losing employees when they had a child as they couldn't find child care."   
  • Paycheck Protection Program extended: The Paycheck 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 quality. 
  • 2 child care grant opportunities open through Sept. 30: Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants will cover operating costs and Incentive Grants for Reopening Child Care Programs will cover costs for programs that closed due to COVID-19, with priority given to providers who meet certain criteria.   
  • Elevate20 coming this summer: The virtual Elevate20 Business Summit will provide Nebraska child care professionals with resources to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness. Human resources, financial management, marketing,business operations and leadership development to be among the topics covered.   

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

  • Register for the 2020 Thriving Children: Register now for the 2020 Thriving Children, Families and Communities Conference September 14. This year's virtual event will feature keynote speaker Linda Smith, early childhood initiative director at the Bipartisan Policy Institute.
  • A look at state investments in early childhood: The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation is working on Starting at Zero, a new documentary detailing the importance of state investments in early childhood. As the film prepares for its online world premiere, The Hunt Institute and Saul Zaentz will partner for a pre-premiere conversation. The webinar, Starting at Zero: A Conversation on the Importance of Early Learning, will be Monday, August 10, at 11 a.m. CDT. Register here.
  • Family child care networks brief: All Our Kin released a new brief: Staffed Family Child Care Networks: A Path Towards a Stronger, More Sustainable Child Care System. The brief combines the most up-to-date research in the field with All Our Kin's two decades of on-the-ground experience to help policymakers understand what networks are and how they can be implemented for maximum impact.
  • Webinar on Early Head Start grants: Home Grown is offering a webinar for networks interested the Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants funding opportunity recently released by the federal Administration of Children and Families. Two webinars are available:
    • August 6, 1 - 2:30 p.m. CDT: Webinar for networks interested in becoming Head Start/Early Head Start grantees; register here 
    • August 10, 1 - 2:30 p.m. CDT: Webinar for existing Head Start/Early Head Start grantees interested in expanding to include home-based child care providers; register here
  • Report on children's experiences during the pandemic: NIEER has released the report “Young Children’s Home Learning and Preschool Participation Experiences During the Pandemic,” that includes the results of their recent survey of parents of preschoolers and their experience during program closure.
  • Supporting family child care: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections has released their July newsletter highlighting a number of resources that support formal and informal family child care providers.
  • COVID-19's impact on food access for children: A new brief released by the Urban InstituteChild Care and Feeding Young Children During the pandemic, discusses the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the primary way children in early care and education settings are fed, and the impact of COVID-19 on food access for children.

 

State Government

  • NDE announces redesigned NECPRS website: A newly redesigned Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS) features a mobile-friendly design, user-friendly navigation, searchable calendar and other improvements to help child care providers manage their information. The Nebraska Department of Education launched the new design after seeking input from early childhood professionals across the state.

 

 


July 10, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • Deadline for Healthy Places Grant applications is July 12: These Nebraska DHHS grants are intended to help child care providers and places of worship purchase personal protective equipment, disinfectants and other supplies necessary for the operation of programs. The application window for Stabilization and Reopening Incentive grants for child care remain open until September 30.
  • State Chamber to host economic development event with Senator Mark Kolterman: The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry will host "Reigniting Economic Development " July 15, at 1:30 p.m. CDT. The online event will feature comments from Senator Mark Kolterman and focus on the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, economic development case studies and rural/urban opportunities. Registration is free.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

 

Other News

 


July 2, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • Funding available for child care reopening and relief: Applications for the Stabilization of Child Care & Incentive to Reopen Child Care Funds open at 9 a.m. CDT, on Monday, July 6. Funds are intended to relieve the financial burden of the pandemic and can be used for rent/mortgage payments, salaries, cleaning supplies, PPE and other allowable expenses. Learn more at nebraskachildren.org/childcare-funds.
  • Businesses embrace coronavirus safety: The National Safety Council, Nebraska Chapter, partnered with chambers of commerce statewide to launch Be Safe Nebraska. The initiative allows companies to pledge to adopt safety practices focused on keeping their employees, customers and partners safe during the pandemic. Learn more at safenebraska.org/besafe.

 

State & Federal Government

  • New Directed Health Measures affect child care: Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties will see their coronavirus-related restrictions ease on Monday, July 6. The four counties will join the rest of the state under Phase 3 for Directed Health Measures and be able to further open up child care centers, bars, restaurants and large gatherings. Read about what the changes mean for providers.
  • New deadline for PPP applications: The House and Senate passed a bill this week to extend the filing deadline for Paycheck Protection Program loans through August 8, 2020. The bill will go to President Trump to be signed into law. As of the initial deadline, approximately $130 billion in unspent funds was still available for small business relief.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

June 19, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • U.S. Small Business Association accepting grant applications: The SBA has resumed accepting applications for forgivable grants for small businesses and nonprofits through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs as of June 18. EIDL loans are long-term, low interest financial assistance to businesses and can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Applications already submitted will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply at SBA.gov/disaster.
  • Child care benefits affect parents' employment decisions: Family care benefits, including subsidized backup child care, ranked above other employee benefits as reasons parents stay in a current job or pursue a new one, according to Work+Life Report, a Care.com study published earlier this year. In a recent article, HR Daily Advisor reflected on the findings of the study as they relate to shifts in workplace benefits, employee well-being and even consumer behavior in the age of COVID-19.
  • Live webinar for Get Nebraska Growing: Governor Ricketts, Nebraska DED Director Tony Goins and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce will host a webinar Tuesday, June 23, noon to 1 p.m., to provide updates on the Small Business Stabilization grants as well as other economic stimulus initiatives made possible through CARES Act funding.This virtual event is free and open to the public.
  • Small Business Stabilization Grants deadline is June 26: There's one week left to submit applications for Nebraska's Small Business Stabilization Grants. Nebraska-owned businesses with 5 to 49 employees that have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment resulting from COVID-19 are eligible to apply. Learn more and apply.
  • State Chamber urges support for child care: The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry signed a letter to Congress urging federal support for licensed child care, which will play a key role in getting parents back to work in the months ahead. 

 

State & Federal Government

  • New directed health measures affect child care: New DHMs that loosen restrictions on child care programs throughout the state go into effect June 22. Four counties--Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick--will enter Phase 2 of Nebraska's recovery plan, while the rest of the state moves into Phase 3. Read more about what it means for providers on First Five Nebraska's blog.
  • Bill would create the Child Care Stabilization Fund: Members of the House and Senate recently introduced the Child Care is Essential Act (HR7027 and S. 3874). The bill would appropriate an additional $50 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to create the Child Care Stabilization Fund. The fund would award grants to enable providers who have remained open or temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 emergency to continue or resume operations. 

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

  • New NAEYC Survey for child care providers: Whether your child care program is reopening, never closed or is still in limbo, NAEYC wants policymakers and the public to know about the challenges child care providers are facing. Please complete and share this survey in English or in Spanish by June 30 to help inform the next set of potential policy actions so they can effectively support child care across all states and settings.
  • New Buffett Early Childhood Institute column: “Our Preschoolers Can Help End Racism - If We Help Them First” discusses systemic racism and how to ensure children grow to be champions for equality.
  • Study on families coping with COVID-19 crisis: The RAPID-EC Research Group recently published, “Under the Same Roof, for Better and for Worse: Households with young children are experiencing both increased conflict and high levels of closeness during the pandemic.”
  • ReadyNation webinar on home-cased child care: ReadyNation will host a webinar for release of their report, “Home-based Child Care: A Surprising Key to Keeping the American Workforce Strong,” Wednesday, June 24, at 9 a.m. CDT. The report discusses policy options to sustain this essential component of the child care landscape. Register here.
  • NAEYC releases brief on ECE higher education and COVID-19: “From On Campus to Online: The Impact of the Pandemic on ECE Higher Education Programs” is based on faculty responses from 230+ higher education institutions on COVID-19-related challenges facing the ECE higher education community.
  • How states are using CARES Act funds: Child Trends has published “States Are Using the CARES Act to Improve Child Care Access during COVID-19” which looks at how states are using CARES Act funding to meet immediate child care needs of families and child care providers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Webinar on resources to aid COVID-19 recovery: "Early Childhood Data: Responding to COVID-19 and Building for the Future" is a joint publication of the Data Quality Campaign and Foresight Law + Policy looking at resources and steps to aid communities during COVID-19 recovery. The webinar will be Wednesday, July 1, at 2 p.m. CDT. Register here

 


June 12, 2020

Business Support & Economic Recovery

  • Small Business Stabilizaton Grant application process opens Monday, June 15: Nebraska Department of Economic Development DIrector Tony Goins announced that the application period for a new round of Small Business Stabilization Grants will run from June 15 to June 26. The grants are intended for businesses between 5 and 49 employees in size and cap at a maximum grant amount of $12,000. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so qualifying child care providers should plan to submit their applications as soon as possible. The stabilization grants are one of four new CARES Act-funded programs announed today during a special press briefing hosted by Governor Ricketts. The grants are intended to help spur the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 emergency by offering working capital for small businesses, creating workforce training opportunities and expanding broadband access. For more information:

 

  • State Chamber Hosts Deep Dives: The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a series of Deep Dives on Relief & Recovery Strategies for Nebraska businesses to coincide with the recently released survey results on how the pandemic has impacted Nebraska businesses:​
    • Recording of the first Deep Dive, featuring State Chamber President Bryan Sloan
    • Summary of the Relief & Recovery Strategies
    • Results from the statewide COVID-19 business survey
    • Upcoming schedule of Deep Dives

 

  • Grand Island Loan Fund: The City of Grand Island has created the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund to provide financial assistance to existing businesses within the city that are facing economic hardship due to the coronavirus. The priority of the fund is to retain low-to-moderate paid jobs within the city of Grand Island. Read more about the Revolving Loan Fund.
  • Tips for Small Business Owners: In a new blog, the Nebraska Small Business Development Center offers tips to help small business owners recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PPP Updates: The Bipartisan Policy Center published a summary of changes to the Paycheck Protection Program signed into law last week.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

 


June 5, 2020

Business & Economic Support

  • PPPFA Signed Into Law: Today, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Act. The new law provides additional flexibility for PPP borrowers to qualify for forgiveness and eases the restrictions on the how much of the loan must be used for payroll costs. The legislation will be a welcome relief to borrowers as it reduces the complexities around loan forgiveness. Read more.

 

State Agencies

  • NDHHS Announces Grant Allocations: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced this week how $20 million in CARES Act funding would be allocated to strengthen early care and education projects. The allocations include additional relief grants, stabilization grants and reopening incentive grants for Nebraska's child care providers, funding to develop the newly launched Nebraska Child Care Referral Network, and support for afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • NDE Guidance on Finding Quality Care: The Nebraska Department of Education has released guidance that outlines steps parents can take to identify quality child care when maintaining social distance practices.

 

State & National Early Childhood Partners

  • Early Childhood Virtual Training: NAEYC has opened their Virtual Institute and is offering free access to more than 100 presentations from experts in the child care industry. These resources will be available June 1 - July 17.
  • National Database of COVID-19 Legislation: The National Conference of State Legislatures has an interactive database on COVID-19 legislation. The site allows you to search legislation starting in 2020 by state, topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor using the state legislation.
  • Child Care COVID-19 Survey Results: The RAPID-EC research group has published the article, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place, "which breaks down the data from their survey as it relates to families, children and early child care providers in the time of COVID-19." The article provides a series of recommendations to prevent a child care shortage crisis.

 


May 29, 2020

State Agencies

  • Reopening Guide for Schools: The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) introduced Launch Nebraska, a guide for schools on following public health experts' recommendations when making decisions about reopening facilities and resuming activities statewide. 

 

Nebraska Legislature

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