Nemaha County has recently been selected to be part of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation Communities for Kids, a state-wide initiative which supports young children, families and those providing their care. The Communities for Kids (C4K) initiative is a multi-year planning and implementation initiative that was created in response to community requests for assistance with shortages of high-quality early childhood care and education programs. These shortages impact children’s optimal development and also pose a challenge for communities hoping to attract and retain the viable workforce they need to thrive.
Through the initiative process, Communities for Kids assists in facilitating conversations among each community’s public and private organizations. Communities for Kids also provides expertise, tools, and resources to the community to support the creation and implementation of solutions to childcare shortages. To learn more visit www.CommunitiesforKids.org.
Nemaha County has a Multi-Disciplined C4K Leadership Team that has representation from Early Childhood Education, Economic Development, Local Government, Social Work, and a number of other community leaders. The Leadership Team has identified four initial goals to begin working towards High Quality Early Childcare in Nemaha County; Goal #1: Enhance quality of and support for all early childhood care and providers in Nemaha County. Goal #2: Expand current child care capacity including hours of care for 2nd and 3rd shift. Goal #3 Work towards an Early Childhood Development Center at Peru State College. Goal #4 Increase quality of communication and networking among all Childcare providers in Nemaha County
The C4K Leadership Team invites you to join any event sponsored by Nemaha County C4K and Auburn Sixpence, and would challenge any local childcare providers to attend the many free trainings offered through Nemaha County C4K. If you would like to get involved in the C4K efforts or learn more about the trainings offered to providers in Nemaha County, please reach out to Tyson Wessels at firstname.lastname@example.org
The childcare shortage is evident in Nemaha County when looking at the number of working parents and licensed childcare spots. Based off the recent ECAP survey results, there are nearly 60 children who are needing or will be needing childcare in the next five years, in which those spots do not currently exist in Nemaha County. Who will care for those children not in licensed care? Are they getting the best quality care that they can be given? These are questions the Nemaha County C4K team will be seeking an answer to during this process.
In support of the participating communities, Communities for Kids will provide assistance and expertise to:
- Engage stakeholders in identifying the strengths and gaps of the current early care and education resources in the community.
- Use informed decision-making to determine strategies for meeting the priority needs identified by the community and creating a business plan if needed.
- Connect communities with experts and research, best practices, implementation, quality measurements, financing, use of government/public resources, and design, etc.
- Explore and assist communities with applying for all available sources of funding (private/public grants, public funding programs such as childcare subsidy, no- or low-interest loans, etc.).
In Nemaha County we are changing the way Childcare is framed, it is not babysitting or daycare. These providers are teaching children and building their brains every day. At birth, a child’s brain nearly has all of the neurons it will ever have. In the first year, it doubles in size and by age three it has reached 80% of its adult volume. As a community we need to consider the quality of care these children are getting during these significant and meaningful moments in their life.