Nebraska’s Prenatal-to-Age-3 Plan will make equitable, high-quality programs and services more accessible to pregnant women, infants and toddlers throughout the state.
Statewide initiative focused on our youngest children
The first three years—beginning in the prenatal period—are crucial to children’s lifelong development. During this time, the developing brain forms as many as one million new neural connections per second, which makes children’s earliest experiences crucial to their future learning, as well as their mental, behavioral and physical health. However, far too many families in Nebraska lack ready access to essential programs, services and systems that help meet the specific developmental needs of very young children.
In response to this challenge, First Five Nebraska is coordinating a statewide Prenatal-to-Age-3 (PN-3) Plan to advance public policies and strengthen systems to help families better guide the healthy development of their youngest children. This cross-sector effort involves close collaboration with Nebraska’s Preschool Development Grant partners—including state agencies, business and economic development leaders, early childhood professionals and families—to increase equitable access to high-quality early care and learning, health, mental health and social service supports. Nebraska’s PN-3 Plan is part of a national effort funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI), and led in collaboration with the National Coalition for Infants and Toddlers (NCIT) and the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center.
Increasing access across Nebraska
Working together, we have set ambitious goals for connecting more Nebraska families—especially those of low income—to essential early childhood programs and services:
- Near-term goal: 25% increase in access (15,000 children by 2023)
- Long-term goal: 50% increase in access (30,050 children—ongoing)
Aligned early childhood systems and supports
Nebraska’s PN-3 Plan involves community and state leaders in coordinating a full suite of aligned, accountable and sustainable early childhood systems and supports. Focus areas include:
- Ensuring higher levels of access to subsidized and transitional child care assistance
- Increasing the quality, capacity and availability of quality child care programs
- Expanding availability of nutritional supports, developmental screenings, prenatal and maternal mental health services
- Reducing infant and maternal morbidity rates
All goals and strategies for Nebraska’s PN-3 Plan represent a commitment to ensure equitable participation so families, children and providers of diverse race, ethnicity and language can thrive.
Extensive research has shown us that children’s earliest experiences build the foundation that affects them for the rest of their lives. Parents are their children’s first and best caregivers and teachers during these early years, but they sometimes struggle with...
September 26 through October 2 is We Care for Kids Week, a statewide celebration to raise awareness for quality early childhood education and build support for early childhood educators. It’s an opportunity to inform, motivate and engage Nebraskans across the state....
An accessible, affordable child care system is critical to keeping Nebraska’s families working, businesses growing and communities thriving. Our Investing in Child Care series highlights how Nebraska employers are championing early childhood care and education...
At First Five Nebraska, we are often asked, “What does the average Nebraska family pay for child care?” And as much as we’d like to give a single number, the truth is that the child care market is complex, and the price families pay for child care depends on several...
It’s one thing to know that a significant portion of Nebraska’s youngest children begin their lives in households facing serious financial challenges. It’s another thing to see how those children are distributed across our state’s legislative districts. This week,...
The Nebraska Academy for Early Childhood Research (NAECR) has selected six faculty members to serve as Policy Fellows for the 2022-23 academic year. The NAECR Policy Fellows Program is designed to educate early childhood researchers on policy processes, impacts and...