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A grant program offered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) aims to help expand child care access and opportunities.
The Business and Childcare Partnership Program is open to new and existing child care providers who will expand their licensing capacity to open more spots in their business. Grant funding can be used for minor renovations, to purchase equipment, cover rent and mortgage costs, and for employee wages.
In rural Nebraska, 36% of the population lives in a child care desert—defined as an area where there are three or more children for every licensed child care slot.
While frustrating to families, who often find themselves driving to nearby communities and paying more for these services, child care shortages also have a wider impact on the community.
When there is no child care available and driving to neighboring communities is not feasible, the only choice some families have is for one parent to stay home or reduce their hours. The economic impact is greater on the individual and family scale.
Parents taking time off to provide child care results in loss of earnings and lower productivity. This lower productivity among working parents impacts businesses when they have to hire additional employees or navigate scheduling conflicts with several part-time workers. This combination of lost earnings and lower productivity costs Nebraska businesses approximately $745 million every year, according to First Five Nebraska.
Applications will be accepted until all grant funds have been dispersed. For more information about the program, visit the DHHS website at https://dhhs.ne.gov/CCDF.