State to Give $140M to Local Childcare Providers

Oct. 28, 2021, 4:06 p.m. ·

Children on the ground with a man teaching them. Dog on his arms.
Traci's Tykes Childcare Owner Tracy Lapp said they have been operating at a loss since the beginning of the pandemic. (Photo Courtesy Traci's Tykes Childcare)

Listen To This Story

While some parents lost their jobs and couldn’t afford childcare during the pandemic, daycares suffered too. The state Department of Health and Human Services announced this week a $140 million stabilization grant to help child care providers in Nebraska.

The grant will help child care providers, like Traci’s Tykes Daycare in Ogallala pay for financial losses since the start of the pandemic. Daycare owner Tracy Lapp said they’re serving about 10 fewer kids and some parents are behind on their daycare bills.

“We had to use quite a few of our credit cards during the pandemic, because our income had dropped by half by losing all of those kids," she said.

The grant will also help child care providers recruit staff. That’s something Amanda Niss, owner of Sweet Second Home Childcare in Pawnee City, has been struggling with.

“I haven't been operating at my licensed capacity, because I simply can't take more kids, because of the limited staff that we have available to work," Niss said.

Both providers have applied for the grant. They hope the money will keep their doors open.

"I'm just hoping everybody can stay in business,” Lapp said “Our community is lacking childcare tremendously right now."

The grant could also cover the cost of rent, food, cleaning supplies, and more. Licensed childcare providers are encouraged to apply now through Nov. 24.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story that aired on Nebraska Public Media inadvertently mixed up Traci Lapp and Amand Niss' quotes. We regret the error.