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LB351 seeks to remove unnecessary barriers to increase child care capacity, quality

First Five Nebraska Policy Advisor Adam Feser recently testified before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee in support of LB351, Senator Lou Ann Linehan's bill that would make it possible for child care providers changing their license type to retain their quality rating in Step Up to Quality. The committee advanced the bill to General File on a unanimous vote and the full Legislature today voted 39-0-9 to advance the bill to Select File. 

As the COVID-19 crisis made clear, Nebraska’s working parents rely on access to quality child care. It is essential our child care programs have capacity to support the needs of working parents. We want to encourage growth for early childhood programs by removing barriers so they can better meet the needs of their communities.

It is just as important to help child care businesses recognize and improve the quality of their programs. Step Up the Quality (SUTQ), Nebraska’s early childhood quality rating and improvement system, gives participating programs access to training, resources and financial incentives as they move along the path from Step 1 to Step 5. 

Child care programs looking to advance in SUTQ and serve more young children may need to change license type. For example, a Family Home I provider may need to move to a Family Home II license to increase the size of their program. Under current statute, this provider would lose their current quality rating and be moved down to Step 1. LB351 removes this barrier by allowing programs to retain their quality ratings if they change license type.

Increased access to quality child care programs improves the lives of young children and working parents, while benefiting Nebraska businesses and communities. Businesses are better able to recruit and retain employees and Nebraska communities thrive as young families put down roots. Working parents know their children are cared for and can focus on work or building careers. And young children have access to high-quality, developmentally positive experiences that put them on the path toward success in school and life.

Download FFN's LB351 policy brief to learn more. Stay up to date with legislation that impacts early childhood in Nebraska through our Legislative Bill Tracker or by joining FFN's mailing list for our e-newsletter.

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