Omaha, Neb. — The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska today released a statewide survey in Nebraska to assess the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood programs serving young children and families in the state.
Nebraska is one of the top states in the nation where all available parents are in the workforce, and 75 percent of children under the age of 6 live in homes where all adults in their family work outside the home.
“We want to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of early childhood programs across the state,” said Samuel J. Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute. “Like other sectors of our economy, early childhood programs are being heavily impacted by this disease. What we learn can help identify additional supports that are needed, as well as inform subsequent efforts to rebuild the economy. Working parents rely extensively on early care and education programs in our state and nation today.”
The Buffett Institute, in partnership with its state and community partners, has been at the forefront of bringing public awareness to the challenges faced by early childhood programs in the state, including a shortage of accessible and affordable high-quality early childhood programs. In January, the Institute released a wide-ranging report by the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission that called for strengthening the state’s early childhood workforce and fully funding the early childhood system over the next 10 years.
“The survey provides an opportunity to listen to the voices of the dedicated professionals who care for and educate young children in our state, in the context of unprecedented health and economic challenges,” said Kate Gallagher, director of research and evaluation at the Buffett Institute. “We hope to carry their challenges and needs to legislators, policymakers, and state leaders, in the hopes of providing greater supports to providers and families.”
Public and private early childhood programs operate in Nebraska through schools, centers, and homes. The Institute’s survey will be distributed to programs by state and community partners. All early childhood programs and services in the state are encouraged to complete the survey by March 25. It is posted at https://bit.ly/NEprovidersurvey.