The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), passed and signed into law in 1996, was reauthorized by a strong bipartisan vote in 2014, the first reauthorization since the original law was passed. Staff at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have worked tirelessly since the reauthorization to implement new policies. First Five Nebraska thanks all of those involved in our state for their commitment and vision for the future of Nebraska’s children, families and the providers who will benefit from these new policies.
The improvements are in the areas of health and safety, monitoring and inspections, consumer education, disaster preparedness, homeless training and outreach, subsidy eligibility factors and better billing practices. Regulations that have already been approved by the Governor and went into effect on January 9 are:
Additional regulations in draft form and being reviewed internally are:
While overall, program funding stays at relatively the same levels in areas outside of quality care, there are statutory requirement changes that should be noted. To name a few, states will be required to establish or implement: Annual training and professional development for providers; policies regarding emotional health of children and developmental screenings for children at-risk of developmental delays; state spending requirements on quality funds to set activities; early learning guidelines 0-5 that detail age-appropriate progress and adopt criminal background checks for those working in child care centers.
Cost Model to Estimate True Cost of Providing Quality Care
First Five Nebraska will be completing a quality cost model during the remaining months of 2017 to estimate the true cost of providing high-quality child care. Our vision and hope is to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and others to implement this cost model as a potential way to set provider rates rather than the current Market Rate Survey we have today. We look forward to continuing the work with our state partners on behalf of Nebraska’s children, families and providers.