Bi-Monthly Newsletter - February 2021
Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan Goal 3:
Collaboration—Communities coordinate a locally
designed mixed-delivery system that provides
continuous care and meets the needs of families.
This month's newsletter continues to focus on Nebraska's Early Childhood Strategic Plan by
examining Goal 3 and the organizations who align well with it.
Goal 3 focuses on supporting local community leaders, early childhood providers, and school
personnel to build relationships and their capacity to coordinate local resources for families and
their children.
The strategic plan calls for developing a statewide infrastructure to help support coalition
building within and across Nebraska’s communities. Utilizing Nebraska’s existing models of
collaboration and coordination, organizations in the statewide early childhood system will work
together to define how each can best support greater capacity in local systems and provide
resources for communities to design and implement their own early childhood coordination
plans. As each community, or group of communities in a region, creates more coordinated and
integrated early childhood care and education systems, they will do so by building on the
strengths and resources that are locally available to meet families’ needs. When community
leaders identify gaps in their local system, they may turn to other communities or to state-level
organizations to seek information or resources to begin to fill those gaps. Ultimately, the more
coordination and alignment at the state and community levels, the easier it will be for families
to access the services they need for their child’s healthy development.
Preschool Development Grant
Renewal Application--Year 2
The team at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is working with the PDG
Project Management Team on finalizing the Continuation Application for Year 2 of the three-
year Preschool Development Grant (PDG). This was made possible thanks to the ongoing
successful efforts funded by the PDG Renewal Grant. This application is an opportunity to
showcase the accomplishments of the 24 PDG projects over the past year and highlight the
upcoming activities for Year 2.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the projects in PDG were slightly delayed in their
hiring processes as well as in implementation. However, the expertise of the PDG project leads
and the ongoing collaboration with the Nebraska Leadership Team, partners, and stakeholders
allowed for steadfast movement forward.
Many of the PDG projects leaders responded and creatively adapted to meet the needs of the
children, families, and providers they served through virtual assessments, trainings, and
guidance. DHHS is looking forward to continued advancements in meeting the goals of the
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Preschool Development Grant. Please continue to follow the PDG Newsletter for updates on
progress and achievements.
Strategic Plan Update
The Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan is designed to create a more integrated system of
early childhood services for children and their families so that families can access quality early
care and education as well as other essential services to help their young children thrive.
Success in building an integrated early care and education system that provides quality care to
each child depends on coordination of community-level and statewide resources, requiring
strong relationships and effective communication among stakeholders representing all sectors
of the system.
One of the values that guides the strategic planning process is “Community Leadership and
Collaboration.” Each community across Nebraska has a unique set of characteristics, strengths,
and challenges. Community members and leaders are the experts in what is happening in and
what will work for their people.
As stakeholder engagement continues in 2021, the team looks forward to talking with
community leaders, including families and early childhood educators, to identify strategies and
action plans that support the needs of children and families. Through these conversations,
Nebraska communities will ensure that their priorities for improving access to quality early
childhood services are reflected in the strategic plan.
In the end, creating an effective early childhood system is a shared responsibility. Everyone
(parents, early childhood professionals, schools, businesses, community leaders, state agencies,
nonprofit organizations, and elected officials) has a vested interest in supporting the healthy
development and learning of each child. Working together, a comprehensive strategic plan will
be created that represents the diverse voices in communities across the state and provides
Nebraska with shared goals and priorities for action.
See the Nebraska Early Childhood Strategic Plan and other supporting materials.
For questions about the Strategic Plan contact Susan Sarver.
Needs Assessment
Update
The Needs Assessment team is working to
capture additional data about the needs and
concerns of Nebraska's most
underrepresented and underserved families.
Currently, the groundwork is being laid to
train facilitators to conduct a series of family
focus groups. Partners have identified from
community organizations to support
identifying, recruiting, and facilitating focus
groups with vulnerable families across
Nebraska. Although delayed due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, the team is elated to be
working with our community partners on this
collaborative approach and coordinated effort
to better understand families' perspectives
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