More Than a Mommy Issue: The Lack of Childcare in Nebraska Impacts Our Economy

According to Marti Beard, Associate Vice President of Early Childhood Programs at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, a lack of early childcare is more than just a mommy issue.  

It’s more than just a daddy issue. It’s more than just a kids’ issue. It affects our economy, employment, retention of young workforce, and the future successes of children in school – and their lives.  

From left to right: Elizabeth Everett, Senior Policy Associate and Alexis Zgud, Communications Associate with First Five Nebraska, joined Marti Beard, at Sehnert’s Bakery in McCook, Nebraska for Coffee with a Cop.

Research only supports this statement. Yet the questions remain. How can we better compensate early childcare workers? How do we develop a sound, trusting relationship with parents? What motivates us, as a prevention-centered organization, to continue to implement these programs? We continue to seek answers to these questions.  

Despite these pressing inquiries, childcare is one of the biggest expenses that families face. Yet quality early childhood programs can be traced to success factors that pave the way for a child’s best life. 

Research from the First Five Years Fund even shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns. And here’s another essential fact: creating excellent childcare and educational programs increases graduation rates and is tied to our economy’s success. 

The keynote speaker at the 2019 Thriving Children ConferenceNebraska Children Board Member, Helen Raikes, has been studying early childhood her whole career. During her speech, she stated that there’s vast amount of progress that’s been made in our state. 

Dr. Helen H. Raikes is one of our Board members and a Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, teaching in Child, Youth
and Family Studies.

Raikes also reaffirmed that early childhood care and education can be linked to economic development in many ways. 

“The children who’ve had these experiences are graduating high school more often, they’re more likely to go to college, they’re more likely to own their own homes, they make more money, they pay more taxes,” she said.  

Raikes went on to say that although strides have been made, Nebraska still has some work to do. She said that some Nebraskan counties are still lacking even one childcare facility.  

Elizabeth Troyer-Miller of Wood River, Nebraska is one of many parents who faced a similar issue. She describes her search for childcare as bouncing around between seven providers. Read an in-depth interview about Elizabeth’s challenge to find childcare.   

Still, according to childcareaware.org, the cost of center-based childcare for two children exceeds home mortgage costs in 35 states and D.C. and annual median rent payments in every state. 

Meanwhile, Nebraska Children’s Early Childhood initiatives including Communities for Kids, Rooted in Relationships, and Sixpence Early Learning Fund; our board members, and our partners reinforce this message to ensure that it remains a top priority.  

There have been other recent efforts regarding the importance of quality early childcare. Elizabeth Everett, Senior Policy Associate and Alexis Zgud, Communications Associate with First Five Nebraska, joined Marti Beard, at Sehnert’s Bakery in McCook, Nebraska for Coffee with a Cop. They discussed statewide efforts being made to improve access to early childhood care and education in Nebraska.  

Other community leaders include Jay Wolf, a third-generation cattle rancher who is on board with our mission: to make childcare a priority. Jay reassures us that despite his agricultural background, he isn’t unique. Read more about Jay’s story. 

The bottom line: childcare isn’t just a concern for moms. It’s for everyone and can create a better, thriving Nebraska. Find out more about what’s being done on behalf of not only childcare, but childhood well-being.  

Stay up to date on what our Early Childhood team is doing. Sign up for our blog and monthly e-newsletter. 

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Early Childhood

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