Through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Nebraska will receive approximately $1 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to address the economic fallout of the pandemic and set the stage for a strong and equitable recovery process. These dollars are intended to shore up the public health response to the pandemic, enhance compensation for essential workers, and address revenue losses in the public and private sectors, among other purposes.
Because these issues are intimately connected to the care, education and healthy development of young children, First Five Nebraska has compiled a downloadable overview of potential uses for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to strengthen the state’s early childhood infrastructure. These include:
- Addressing the increased need for mental and behavioral health services resulting from hardships associated with the pandemic
- Providing aid to unemployed parents and families facing food, housing and child care insecurity
- Funding new and expanded early learning services in communities where there are significant disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes
- Offering premium pay for child care professionals either directly or through employer grants
Detailed information about how these funds are to be distributed in Nebraska to state government, counties, metropolitan cities and Tribal governments is available on the U.S. Treasury website.
“We have an opportunity to use these dollars strategically by making early childhood central to our recovery process,” said Jason Prokop, director of First Five Nebraska. “Our goal is to ensure those issues are included in conversations among decision-makers at all levels of government in our state.“