Hearing to Examine Pandemic's Effect on Early Childhood Workforce

Sept. 25, 2020, 2:48 p.m. ·

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A legislative hearing Tuesday will examine the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on Nebraska’s early childhood workforce.

According to a legislative resolution, 75 percent of children under six in Nebraska live in homes where all of the adults work outside the home, causing parents to rely on early childhood care providers. But Susan Sarver, a professor of child, youth and family studies at the University of Nebraska said a survey of licensed childcare providers in the state earlier this year painted a troubling picture.

“Over half of the respondents said they would probably or definitely close without financial assistance if the pandemic continued or worsened,” Sarver said.

Sarver said the Department of Health and Human Services reported 13 percent of child care providers have gone out of business so far, while others are hanging on, aided by small grants of federal CARES Act dollars, or have started up.

The hearing on financing requirements will be headed by Sen. John Stinner, chair of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. It will be held from 9 to 10:30 Tuesday morning at the Capitol. A limited number of people will be able to attend in person; the hearing will also be livestreamed at netnebraska.org.