Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Preschool Development Grant, or PDG.
- How does the PDG Planning Grant differ from the PDG Renewal Grant?
- Does the PDG work primarily on a state level?
- Is the PDG focused on conducting needs assessments and coming up with a strategic plan?
- What are the main goals of the PDG Renewal Grant?
- Who benefits from the grant?
- What is the organizational structure to deliver the grant?
- Is the PDG potentially available for communities to apply for funding?
How does the PDG Planning Grant differ from the PDG Renewal Grant?
The initial PDG Planning Grant (2019-2020) funded a collaborative effort to assess the needs of the early childhood care and education systems in Nebraska and to create a strategic plan designed to improve access to quality childcare, to build collaborative enterprises between local communities and early childcare services, and to implement aligned statewide systems to support communities.
The PDG Renewal Grant provides funding from 2020-2023 to implement the strategic plan, based on findings of the needs assessment, by investing in community-level infrastructure so as to provide resources, services, and information to families; to strengthen the early childhood workforce by providing professional development and incentives to stay and grow in the field; to continue the work of integrating the state system; to better inform the public on the importance of early childhood education and its related issues; and to evaluate grant-funded programs so as to continue to improve quality of early childhood education and services.
Does the PDG work primarily on a state level?
The activities funded by PDG are meant to reach statewide, but are aimed at partnerships with local communities to build a strong Nebraska system of high quality early childhood care and education.
Is the PDG focused on conducting needs assessments and coming up with a strategic plan?
While the early purpose of the the initial PDG was to implement a statewide Needs Assessment of strengths and gaps in the early childhood system and to develop a Strategic plan to address the findings, the three-year Renewal Grant funds projects across the state and within communities designed to improve access to high quality early childhood care and education programs.
The PDG is a statewide grant, but is intended to reach people at many levels of involvement. Participation is sought from parents and families, Early Childhood Educators and Service providers as well as State level leaders in both public and private settings. Stakeholders continue to evaluate the Needs Assessment and revise the Strategic Plan, but look to expand the reach of the grant into important early childhood systems and to involve all Nebraska families.
What are the main goals of the PDG Renewal Grant?
The main goals of the PDG Renewal Grant are as follows:
• Provide up-to-date information on the status of young children in Nebraska that can be used to inform decision-making at the state, community, and program levels, with an emphasis on improving capacity in rural communities;
• Create stronger community-level infrastructure for helping families learn about available early childhood programming, and for connecting families to the services they need;
• Expand efforts to engage with families, obtain information about their needs, inform them about chiId development, and connect them to beneficial services for their young children;
• Strengthen the early childhood workforce through a coherent set of professional development (PD) initiatives and by providing meaningful incentives to stay and grow in the field;
• Improve services for infants and toddlers for their first five years, and strengthen the transition into kindergarten;
• Create a more equitable system that offers access to high quality care and education to all Nebraska families;
• Build a stronger, more integrated state system with updated governance and finance policies that support community-level leadership;
• Inform the Nebraska public about the importance of child development, the impact of the grant, and the state’s investment in early childhood;
• Evaluate results that inform continuous quality improvement.
Who benefits from the grant?
Nebraska families in need of quality early childhood care and education and the providers who seek to build quality care services by working with the network of support services and resources available in the state are the primary beneficiaries.
Specifically, prioritizing serving communities whose children have the greatest needs, certain locales have been chosen to receive subgrants that will increase the number of high-functioning and sustainable family support and early childhood care and education infrastructures and services. Communities receive funds and ongoing technical assistance through a Nebraska Children and Families Foundation initiative called Communities for Kids that helps support a dedicated local “central coordination staff” to develop collaborative infrastructures for the community.
On a larger scale, all of Nebraska benefits. Building a system of quality care not only supports the small businesses that feed Nebraska’s economy, but also provides jobs in the state, and gives families the option of entering the workforce with the certainty that their children are receiving quality care. Without such care, the state loses millions of dollars annually.
First Five Nebraska recently commissioned a report whose findings revealed that Nebraska families lost $489 million dollars a year in household income due to missed work and that businesses lost another $234 million because of lower productivity and employee turnover. An additional $21 million is lost annually in decreased tax revenues.
What is the organizational structure to deliver the grant?
The National Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families has awarded Nebraska’s DHHS the PDG Renewal Grant, with two major sub-awards given to the Nebraska Department of Education and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. A collaborative of early childhood care and education programs and services within the state works closely with local communities to assess needs related to early childhood development, to develop a plan for addressing critical needs, and to disperse funding that best supports the institutions that meet those needs and the families seeking quality childcare services.
To see the grant structure.
Is the PDG potentially available for communities to apply for funding?
The PDG Renewal Grant awarded to Nebraska from March 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021, with potential additional awards for years two and three, offers funding for projects that can be awarded to community projects.
One activity included in the grant scope that supports locally designed efforts to improve family experiences is the Communities for Kids Plus (C4K+) project, designed to increase the number of Nebraska communities with high-functioning and sustainable family support and early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) backbones and services. Community subgrants will be distributed by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) with a priority given to those communities and/or consortiums of communities that are focused on serving children with the greatest needs.
Other projects may offer community funding and can be researched on the individual pages dedicated to each initiative.