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Cedar County receives grant for child care program development

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LINCOLN — Nebraska Children and Families Foundation has selected Cedar County as one of 12 communities to receive a contract for $78,500 for child care capacity building. These funds were made available through Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations dollars and are aimed solely at increasing high quality licensed child care availability in communities where there simply aren’t enough spots for the children who need them. These shortages impact children’s optimal development and pose a challenge for communities hoping to attract and retain the viable workforce they need to thrive.

Communities were selected based on their high need for capacity building in early care and education, their involvement with the Communities for Kids initiative, and that have momentum already in place for community collaboration around their gap in available care.

Community members interested in being a part of this community effort and conversation should contact Miranda Becker, Hartington Economic Development Director; Jackie Steffen, Nebraska Extension Early Childhood Educator; or Chris Rasmussen, Nebraska Department of Economic Development-Northeast Housing Program Representative.

Current child care providers in all communities within Cedar County will be included and encouraged to fill out an application, since they know firsthand the challenges of operating this business in our community and have on the ground knowledge of what families are requesting.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Cedar County Communities for Kids group as they work towards meeting the needs of the children and families in Cedar County. These funds will directly support child care owners in expanding their capacity to increase the number of children served in these communities,” said Erika Fink, Northern Early Learning Connections Coordinator.

Cedar County Communities for Kids was organized in January 2022 and consists of 12 core team members from across the county. This team meets monthly and uses informed decision-making to determine strategies for meeting the unique childcare and educational needs of children in Cedar County. Most recently, the team completed an Early Childhood Quality and Capacity Survey to gather input from community members to identify strengths and gaps of the current early care and education resources in our communities.

“Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids initiative is excited to continue their work with Cedar County, using a collective impact approach to address their child care capacity needs,” said Jackie Farrell, Associate Vice President of Early Childhood Programs at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.

To learn more about Nebraska Children’s work, visit