First Five Nebraska has launched the Child Care and Public Transit Dashboard, a first-of-its-kind interactive resource that maps the proximity of child care programs to public transit routes and stops in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties. The dashboard was produced in partnership with Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) and the Alliance for Early Success.
Housed on First Five Nebraska’s website at FirstFiveNebaska.org/cc-public-transit-dashboard, the new online resource is intended to give policymakers, public administrators, employers, urban planners and economic developers practical insight into the challenges and opportunities involved in coordinating two major aspects of metropolitan infrastructure: child care and public transit. According to the dashboard, only about 45.5% of all licensed child care providers serving children under age 6 are located within a 10-minute walk of a public transit stop in the Lincoln and Greater Omaha metro areas.
“Location and transportation options are key components of child care accessibility,” said Jason Prokop, director of First Five Nebraska. “This new tool offers an important snapshot of the current landscape that will allow us to take a more informed approach to helping the thousands of working parents in Omaha and Lincoln who rely on public transit to access child care and get to their jobs.”
The Child Care and Public Transit Dashboard enables users to:
- Map the proximity of child care programs to 19 public transit routes in Lincoln and 27 routes in Omaha, including the proposed Omaha streetcar;
- View pop-up windows with detailed information about individual child care programs, including program type, participation and step rating in Step Up to Quality, and whether subsidy is accepted;
- Use filters to identify child care providers based on program characteristics as well as distance and walking time from the nearest public transit stop;
- Toggle layers to reveal child care providers, transit lines and data related to children under age 6.
Partner agency CCAoA, a national organization that works with more than 500 child care resource and referral agencies, led the dashboard’s technical development.
“When families have access to child care, our whole economy benefits. However, to access child care, families have to be able to get to their child care programs,” said Anne Hedgepeth, chief of policy and advocacy with Child Care Aware of America. “This project illustrates for states and communities how they can make higher quality programs more accessible for our country’s families with young children, which is good for families, communities, and our economy.”
The project was developed with the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success, which provides technical assistance and targeted investments for early childhood advocacy nationwide that are pursuing policies that improve outcomes for young children. The licensed child care program data analyzed by First Five Nebraska was provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.