skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

COVID Relief for Providers Ends as NE Childcare Funding Gap Grows

play audio
Play

Friday, September 15, 2023   

For many in Nebraska's child-care industry, which was struggling even before the pandemic, the "Child Care Stabilization" funds in the American Rescue Plan Act made a huge difference. The money must be disbursed by Sept. 30, causing concern about a "funding cliff" for child care.

Catherine Huddleston-Casas, Ph.D., associate director of workforce planning and development at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, said the pandemic shone a light on the "poverty wages" many child-care workers receive. She said some found they could make better money in less-demanding jobs.

"The knowledge and expertise that is developed through the process of working under a seasoned child-care provider - all of that is going to be lost if we don't do something to try to keep our providers in their positions," she said.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services distributed the stabilization funds in a variety of ways, including stipends to employees at licensed child-care centers, and grants to center owners and staff to help pay down school loans. In a survey of Nebraska providers, 87% reported receiving some COVID relief money in the previous year, and most had used it for rent and utilities. Today, Nebraska has 10% fewer child-care programs than before the pandemic.

Grants also helped centers expand their capacity. Ninety-one-percent of Nebraska counties have a shortage of licensed child-care slots, and 11 counties have no licensed providers.

Susan Sarver, Ph.D., director of workforce planning and development at the Buffett Institute, said the way funds were disbursed may help the state experience a less severe "funding cliff" than it might have.

"Some states are still maintaining centers, so they're paying wages through those pandemic funds," she said, "and when that money disappears, those are the places that are going to have the biggest drop."

Sarver acknowledged that only when there's data to examine will it be possible to evaluate the sustainability of Nebraska's approach.

Huddleston-Casas authored a recent study showing the gap to fully fund Nebraska's early-childhood care and education grew from 51% in 2017 to 57% in 2021. She said there won't be any quick fixes, but examination of the current system is crucial, including the way it's funded. She considers this especially important because of what we've learned about child development.

"They're not just passive recipients; there's a lot going on in a baby's brain," she said. "But in what ways does the system we have give us the opportunity to do better? Or are we stuck with a system that doesn't know how to accommodate the developmental needs of children?"


get more stories like this via email
more stories
The wells providing water on Santee Tribal lands had manganese levels more than 50 times greater than what is considered safe for adults. Excessively high manganese can cause problems with memory, attention and motor skills. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Members of the Nebraska Santee Sioux Tribe hope a solution to their five-year water ordeal may be on the way. Their tap water has been unusable for …


play sound

Hurricane season is here, and conservationists are shining a light on the role salt marshes play in protecting coastal North Carolina communities…

Social Issues

play sound

This weekend, Father's Day will be tough for children with a dad in jail or prison. More than 200,000 kids in Michigan have had an incarcerated …


Social Issues

play sound

Local election administrators have new guidance from Wisconsin's highest court on alternative early voting sites. A political expert says the timing …

Between 2017 and 2022, Minnesota saw a more than 30% increase in farm acres planted with cover crops. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

When Minnesota farmers watch their crops grow this summer, some will monitor land that has better soil health. It's because of a fairly popular …

Environment

play sound

West Virginia will receive $140 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 …

Environment

play sound

Close to 200 events are planned now through Sunday at California state parks for the third annual State Parks Week. The events advance Gov. Gavin …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021