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O’Neill Early Childhood Committee seeking input on early childhood care

April 12, 2021

Members of the O’Neill Early Childhood Committee are seeking ways to improve early childhood care in the area and are asking for the community’s input.

Today the committee launches a survey to gain people’s insights on what they feel is needed for quality early childhood care and educational opportunities in O’Neill. The survey is anonymous and asks a variety of questions, from programming needs to thoughts on childcare costs.

“Providing children and families with high-quality childhood care sets the foundation for the child’s future,” shared committee member, Amy Shane, “not only keeping them safe and healthy, but helping the child develop the skills they will need for success both during the school day and beyond.”

The goal of the survey is to see what people’s perceptions are in the O’Neill area and identify ways to continue to move forward in ensuring access to quality care.

“Early childhood care impacts so many facets of the O’Neill community—from parents and grandparents to the school system and business owners too,” said committee member, Jeanne Crumly. “We want to learn more about what parents, childcare providers, employers and community members are looking for when it comes to quality early childhood care in O’Neill and most importantly how we can make strides to meet those needs.”

The survey and subsequent meetings and planning efforts are part of a partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation Communities for Kids initiative. Members of the committee include parents, child care providers and representatives from the public school system, hospital, local churches, non-profit community and Nebraska Extension. Those wishing to get involved may share their information at the completion of the survey.

“What started as a concept for a child care center turned into a much bigger conversation about the broader need for quality child care in O’Neill,” said Valerie Wecker, committee member. “We want to support current providers with education and resources, build up a future child care workforce and ensure that quality and parent choice guide these activities.” The results of the survey and the guidance of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation will help us as a community work toward those goals.

The survey will remain open through May 12. People that live and work in the O’Neill area are asked to complete the survey online at go.unl.edu/oneillchild.

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