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First Five Nebraska Statement on Executive Order 20-08: Coronavirus—Expanding Access to Child Care

[Editor's note: Below is our response to Executive Order 20-08 which would ease or suspend certain child care licensing and regulatory procedures in an effort to meet the child care needs of parents working in infrastructure-critical jobs during the COVID-19 health care emergency.]

March 27, 2020

As the COVID-19 emergency continues to put increasing strain on our state’s civic and economic structures, the need for child care services for parents working in infrastructure-critical roles continues to grow in urgency as well. This is particularly true for health care professionals, emergency response personnel, workers in transport and distribution of food and supplies, among other related areas.

Executive Order No. 20-08 from the Nebraska’s Governor’s Office was formulated in an attempt to increase access to child care for these families by temporarily easing or suspending certain licensing and regulatory procedures governing child care. This includes allowing unlicensed personnel to begin providing child care services in non-residential environments before clearing their national fingerprint criminal history checks, provided they have met Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services clearances for criminal history, as well as checks of the sexual offender and child abuse and neglect registries. These alternative child care environments are also expected to adhere to social distancing and group size protocols established by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

First Five Nebraska recognizes the intent of the Executive Order to meet a pressing need throughout the state. Nevertheless, we question the solution this directive offers on two main points.

First, we believe it overlooks the availability of Nebraska’s existing child care professionals who, due to declining attendance during the public health emergency, may have the capacity to offer services to parents working in infrastructure-critical roles throughout the state. Creating an under-regulated pathway to providing child care through persons who may not be qualified to do so needlessly overlooks the professional child care workforce already available to us in communities statewide.

Secondly, we must recognize that the current public health emergency is likely to seriously affect the physical, psychological and emotional health of young children during the most vulnerable stage in their development. In the midst of this national crisis, it is more important than ever that children be entrusted to the care of professionals who are trained and prepared to address their developmental needs.

Moving forward, we strongly encourage state agencies to focus their efforts on the following:

Refer parents and employers in infrastructure-critical roles to existing, licensed child care providers in their vicinity who have the ability to offer child care services while observing the guidelines for group sizes and management.
Draw upon the expertise of licensed and trained early childhood professionals to administer, supervise and, wherever possible, staff emergency child care programs in alternative environments.

The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to our state’s child care professionals, but they remain a vitally important resource to our civic and economic infrastructure. We should be looking for opportunities to leverage our existing, experienced and well-trained early childhood workforce to its best effect before resorting to alternative options that may not offer the best outcomes for our children, families, communities and state.

Access a PDF of First Five Nebraska's statement

Posted March 27, 2020 in General
covid-19, early childhood, child care,
Marry Stastny
March 27, 2020

I’m a licensed childcare provider and educator. I have first aid and CPR registered. I have been fingerprinted for the state of Nebraska.  I have 4 full time openings. My home is here for parents that need me. God’s blessings these are tough times that we are all going through some of us tougher than others we need the support of our community and I am ready to be one of those supporters.

Christy Newill
March 27, 2020

WHAT ARE they THINKING!!!!!!!! Their not!!!!!! There are many qualified LICENSED DAY CARE PROVIDERS AVAILABLE!!! Why on earth would they do this??? Children especially now need routine and structure to keep their little lives normal!!  Thank you First Five of Nebraska for speaking for us.  As a licensed provider we take great pride in offering quality child care and do A LOT to be in compliance with ALL regulations but apparently we don’t matter and neither does our hard work:( I am so disappointed in our government in their handling of our future little people :( Its sad!!!

Katie Krivolavek
March 27, 2020

I own KidsPark in Lincoln. I was forced to close my doors because we had no children as of Monday morning. We advertised that we had space, reached out to hospitals and other medical facilities and the need wasn’t there. The in-house center at Bryan isn’t even full. We absolutely don’t need to be making it easier for places to provide care with less regulations. I have a center licensed for 60 children sitting empty right now. If people need care they just need to contact centers.

JT Talkington
March 28, 2020

I whole-heartedly agree.

KinderCare Essential Services Centers remain open. We currently have NAEYC Accredited Schools, fully licensed, executing the highest CDC essential care safety measures open and running at less than 50% capacity.

We remain committed to our Nebraska communities, young children and their safety and development.  Quality, stable care continues to be a critical need for our communities.

To review our open locations please visit:
https://www.kindercare.com/lp/essential-care-centers

Julie Jurgenson
March 31, 2020

I’m so disappointed to hear that anyone can open a daycare during this virus outbreak.  The day cares that own licensing have worked and continue to work hard every single to maintain these standards.  Most disappointed our government has allowed this inexcusable act to be brought about.

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