by Amy Mart, Implementation Consultant, Buffett Early Childhood Institute
Written for the Preschool Development Grant eNewsletter – July 2019
The PDG Needs Assessment will provide an in-depth and comprehensive view the systems that serve Nebraska’s children birth through 5. The goal of the needs assessment is to identify opportunities and barriers for improving access to high-quality early childhood services for all Nebraska’s children and families. Two large-scale surveys, which serve as the foundation for the needs assessment, will wrap up in July. “Focus on Nebraska Families” was mailed to over 90,000 families across the state. The “Early Childhood Program and Leadership Survey” was mailed to leaders of all childcare centers, family childcare homes, pre-K programs, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and license-exempt providers in the Nebraska. For more information about these surveys, please see the previous PDG Newsletter.
We know that the capacity of the professionals who work directly with children is central to the quality of care provided. In the coming weeks, we will send out an electronic survey to be completed be all early childhood educators, home visitors, and coaches to assess their experiences, concerns, supports, and well-being. We will rely partners across the state to help us distribute the link via email and social media as we aim to reach as many early childhood professionals as possible. Please watch your inbox for more information and share widely with your networks!
UNL’s Bureau of Sociological Research (BOSR) will be conducting focus groups with families of young children across the state in late July and early August. The anticipated locations for these focus groups are O’Neill, Valentine, Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Norfolk, Omaha, and Lincoln. Focus groups will give parents the chance to share more in-depth information about their experiences and challenges with accessing high-quality care for their young child and navigating support systems. Each participant will earn $30 for sharing their time and ideas. Please encourage families with children under 6 years of age to sign up for a focus group by calling BOSR at 402-472-3672.
At the same time, the Buffett Institute will be working to convene targeted focus groups to elevate the voices of several targeted populations across the state, including African American, Latinx, Native American, and homeless and refugee families. Please contact Amy Mart (firstname.lastname@example.org) with contact information for any community organizations that may be willing to help us connect with these families.
Preliminary results from the PDG needs assessment will be shared at two Strategic Planning Advisory Team (SPAT) meetings on August 7th (1:30pm in Kearney) and August 8th (1:30pm in Lincoln). There will also be an option for digital participation via Zoom. Please use this link to RSVP for one of these meetings, and we will send a more detailed invitation soon. After the Needs Assessment is complete, we will begin to draft goals and objectives for Nebraska’s Strategic Plan. In September, we will reach out to partners and stakeholders to engage in discussions and provide feedback on the Strategic Plan.