Sound, practical early childhood policies require the voices of informed and engaged citizens in our state legislature.
First Five Nebraska makes it easier for individual citizens to be heard where decisions affecting our youngest children are being made.
LB 105: Insurance for Providers
Parents trust that their child will be safe in the care of a licensed child care provider. They don’t know what the licensing process entails; they just know the State has deemed a licensed provider safe enough to care for groups of children. Requiring licensed providers to carry liability insurance is a basic protection for parents and their children, and it also can be a good protection for providers. Liability insurance is not cost-prohibitive for providers, and should be required for anyone seeking approval from the State to care for groups of children. LB 105 requires licensed child care providers to obtain liability insurance of at least $100,000 per occurrence or risk noncompliance.
Resource: First Five Nebraska's Written Testimony on LB 105 (pdf)
LB 190: Infants & Toddlers
LB 190 appropriates $10 million in General Funds to the Sixpence Cash Fund, expanding access to effective early childhood experiences proven to reduce the achievement gap in children 0-3 at-risk of failing in school. Services are currently offered across the state, but only reach 1% of infants and toddlers most at-risk of failing in school. Research shows the most critical period of brain development for children takes place in the first three years of life. Sixpence is a quality early learning program that provides positive results- we must continue to invest in what works for infants and toddlers.
Resource: What happens when children receive high quality early experiences? (pdf)
Resource: Sixpence Talking Points for LB 190 (pdf)
LB 194: Home Visitation Programs
One out of three of Nebraska’s youngest children are subject to risk factors that threaten their ability to thrive in school and beyond. Early childhood investments, including home visitation opportunities, not only show reductions in child abuse and neglect, but also help parents learn positive parenting techniques. Many first time mothers and their babies benefit from these voluntary services – often beginning during pregnancy – that develop a supportive relationship with the family and emphasize the power of parenting for a child’s success. LB 194 appropriates general funds for FY 2012-13 for home visitation programs.
LB 495: Expanding Services for Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Similar to LB 190, LB 495 appropriates funds to the Sixpence Cash Fund to expand quality services for infants and toddlers at risk, but instead of appropriating General Funds, LB 495 directs $1 million in Education Innovation Funds (lottery) to Sixpence in each of the next 2 years. (This bill also clarifies reporting requirements and partially funds early childhood programs for 3 and 4 year olds; the remaining funds for 3 and 4 year olds is in the Governor’s budget.)
While in Nebraska in January 2013, Dr. Jack Shonkoff said, “The most expensive thing in early childhood is a poor quality program with no return on investment.” First Five Nebraska encourages that any investments in early childhood include quality as a requirement of early childhood programs.
Resource: First Five Nebraska's Written Testimony on LB 495 (pdf)
LB 497: Distribution of State Lottery Education Innovation Fund
LB 497 would change the percentages of distribution for the State Lottery Education Innovation Fund through June 30, 2016. In addition, by December 31, 2013, the Education Committee would conduct a study and submit a report to the Legislature on how lottery dollars should be distributed for education purposes beginning July 1, 2016.
Resource: First Five Nebraska's Written Testimony on LB 497 (pdf)
LB 507: Accountability for Public Dollars
LB 507 would bring a level of accountability to publicly funded child care in Nebraska. Currently, over $95 million in public (state and federal) dollars is used to fund the child care subsidy which serves 43,000 children across the state. There is no child development standard required for these public dollars which we know helps to reduce the achievement gap for children at risk of failing in school. LB 507 would create a quality rating system and bring more accountability to public dollars as well as create a pathway for child care providers to improve quality.
LB 586: Basic Requirements for Licensed Child Care
LB 586 updates the Child Care Licensing Act, putting basic requirements in place for licensed child care. For example, it prohibits any person with a criminal history of child abuse, kidnapping, and other child-related or violent crimes from operating or working in a child care program. It is a necessary step for the basic safety of children in child care in Nebraska.