Elevating provider voices is an integral component of the work at NECC, and a key focus of this effort is through our work with the Family Child Care Network. The FCCN is specifically designed to offer robust business and professional development tools to family child care educators including exclusive funding opportunities, tax preparation, and individual business mentoring.
Within the network is an Advisory Council of family child care providers. The council’s purpose is to aid, advise, and collaborate with NECC staff on the continuous development of FCCN programs and services. Providers can apply for vacant seats and an election is held to appoint members. Currently, 18 members sit on the council.
The intended outcomes of the Advisory Council are to:
- Create a culture of co-creation with Nebraska family child care providers that will inform the programs and services of the Family Child Care Network.
- Provide continuous communication between NECC’s Family Child Care Network and Nebraska family child care providers.
- Provide ongoing leadership development and opportunities for Nebraska family child care providers.
Informing Programs and Services
Increasing the supply and accessibility of high-quality early care and education is foundational to NECC’s work. To effectively launch new programs and services or expand existing ones that positively impact the business of child care, it’s important to identify opportunity gaps and collect feedback from participating providers.
The Advisory Council serves as an engaged group of providers who have an active pulse on what other providers are saying and who can advocate for ways to make the industry better for other providers, children, and families.
Another important part of Advisory Council members’ participation is their ability to share resources such as grant opportunities, legislative updates, and other important information with providers.
Many members like Torrey echo similar sentiments. They want to have more say in how the child care profession is growing, changing, and what’s important.
Continuous Communication between NECC and Family Child Care Providers
The Advisory Council allows for open communication between NECC and family child care providers, helping to create stronger connections and learning opportunities. The provider-to-provider connection has proven to be a valuable way to learn from providers from all over the state, bounce ideas off each other, and to share resources.
When asked why she joined the Advisory Council, Denita Julius said, “To become more involved with early childhood throughout the state instead of just locally and to be involved with having a voice and helping hopefully with more positive change.”
In addition to learning from one another, for many providers, building these connections with their peers has helped them feel part of a larger community.
“The best part of the Advisory Council is that we get to collaborate with providers from all over the state. We are here because we want to be.” – Heather Schmidt
“I wanted to share my knowledge with others and learn from others. I wanted a place to voice opinions and help effect change for us.” – Penny Gerking
Ongoing Leadership Development and Opportunities
Developing early childhood leaders is a stepping stone toward increasing the supply of child care providers in Nebraska. The Advisory Council serves as a platform for leadership growth and other professional development opportunities among members. Advisory Council members are highly motivated providers who are diverse in skill and who provide mentorship to other early childhood professionals.
Advisory Council Members, Residencies, and Contact
- Elizabeth (Liz) Arnold
- Jennifer Baumann
- Angela Blaesi
- North Platte
- Erin Branch
- Ashli Carlock
- Kim Chase
- Barbara Clay
- Micole Freudenburg
- Penny Gerking
- Dayna Hamel
- Kyleen Hays
- Torrey Jones
- Denita Julius
- Amy Lanik
- Alicia Lopez
- Keta Rinne
- Heather Schmidt
- Broken Bow
- Anne Trouba
The next Advisory Council election will be held in May to fill vacant seats. For all Family Child Care Network members, be on the lookout for more information regarding the upcoming election!
Not part of the Family Child Care Network yet?
We’d love to have you join! Learn more about becoming a member and join today.