Start Early. Start well.

COVID-19 Resources

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Buffett Institute is working with its partner organizations to share information and resources with Nebraska child care providers, parents, teachers, and others.

special child care survey of nebraska parents, business owners

In partnership with the University of Nebraska, Senator John Stinner is inviting Nebraska parents and business owners to respond to a special survey to share their experiences regarding child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stinner will share the results of the online survey with the Legislature's Appropriations Committee as part of an interim study on the economic impacts of the pandemic on early childhood education and the overall costs of financing a high-quality early childhood workforce.


Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey II (August 2020)

The Buffett Institute conducted a survey in June to assess the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood providers in Nebraska. More than 1,000 providers responded to the survey. Economic, health, and personal stressors reported from the Institute’s first provider survey in March 2020 continue and are increasing. Findings show that child care providers need more support to stay in business. In addition to other stressors, if the COVID-19 pandemic continues or worsens, Nebraska could lose many of its licensed child care providers unless financial assistance is provided. 

Survey Report (download PDF)

Survey Report (view online)

News Release

Matthew Hansen Column

Early Years Matter Conversation with Kate Gallagher and Alexandra Daro


Nebraska COVID-19 Early Care and Education Provider Survey (March/April 2020)

The Buffett Institute conducted a survey in late March to assess the impact of COVID-19 on early childhood providers in Nebraska. More than 2,100 providers responded to the survey. Findings, which were released in April, show that child care providers are facing incredible stress linked to economic insecurity, threat of health problems, and a lack of reliable information. 

Read Survey Highlights - Perspectives of Child Care Providers

News Release

Matthew Hansen Column About Providers


Developmental Guidelines for Safely Opening Early Learning Programs

In response to a growing demand for information on how to reopen child care safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffett Institute is releasing child development guidelines created to provide assistance to early care and education programs seeking to reopen child care in Nebraska as safely as possible.

Read the guidelines in English or in Spanish

Media Advisory

Video - How to Safely Reopen Child Care and Help Children During COVID-19

Matthew Hansen Column About Guidelines


The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Care and Education

The Buffett Institute teamed up with the University of Nebraska Foundation to host a May 1, 2020, webinar titled "The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Care and Education." Sam Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute, and Kate Gallagher, director of research and evaluation at the Institute, share highlights from a survey of more than 2,100 Nebraska early care and education workforce members as well as implications of COVID to Nebraska’s early care and education providers, children and families, and communities. Watch the video

What Children Need During These Troubling Times

Matthew Hansen, managing editor at the Buffett Institute, talked with experts about what children need and what we as adults can offer them, even as our own lives are upended by the coronavirus crisis. Read his column

Resources for Families and Child Care Providers

Our partners at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) are compiling information and resources to help people during the COVID-19 crisis. There is a general information page and an additional page with specific information for child care providers. The provider page also includes information compiled by the Nebraska Business Development Center for child care business owners and employees.

General Information Page

Child Care Provider Page

Nebraska Child Care Referral Network Is a New Tool for Parents, Providers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many essential workers are desperate to find safe places for their children. A new website,, features a searchable database of licensed child care providers to help parents find quality emergency child care. The Nebraska Child Care Referral Network is also a valuable tool for the hundreds of licensed child care professionals struggling to keep their businesses open.

Nebraska Child Care Referral Network

First Five Nebraska Blog

First Five Nebraska is a team of policy, data analysis, and communications professionals working to advance high-quality early care and learning opportunities for our youngest children. First Five’s blog provides the latest early childhood updates, which is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. Visit First Five's blog

UNL Website Helps Children and Families Find Beauty in Everyday Moments

A Beautiful Day is a virtual early childhood space designed to connect with children and families in Nebraska and across the world. Our colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln created this space as a way to share ideas, to foster learning and play, and to support caregivers experiencing physical distancing. More videos are being added on a regular basis. The inspiration came from Fred Rogers who said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” The Buffett Institute was proud to collaborate on this project with Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF), Ruth Staples Child Development Laboratory, the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS), and Nebraska Extension. Visit the website

State and Federal Policy

The Buffett Institute’s leadership team collaborated with early childhood partners First Five Nebraska, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative on letters that were sent in March to state and federal officials.

The first letter, sent on March 20 to the CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the directors of the Nebraska Departments of Education and Labor, and the members of the Legislature, asks state officials to consider policy actions to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s early childhood system. Read the letter

The second letter, sent on March 22 to Nebraska's congressional delegation, contained policy proposals intended to extend financial lifelines to keep child care providers viable during the pandemic. Read the letter

Learn more on First Five’s blog.

An opinion piece by Samuel Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute, on protecting children's well-being during COVID-19 ran in the Washington Post on March 24. Read the op-ed

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