Finding child care in Lincoln
Parenting is never easy. And when you’re aging out of foster care, trying to find a place of your own, keep a job or stay in school, your most important job as a parent can take a back seat to just handling life’s basics. In your situation, finding high-quality, reliable child care that you can trust is critical to your success and your child’s healthy development.
First thing's first: Are you eligible for financial help with child care?
The simple answer is: Probably. If you're working, actively seeking employment, in school, attending medical treatments or incapacitated, you may qualify for child care subsidies for your child 12 or under. Learn more about the child care subsidy in Nebraska, or call 402-471-9325 to find out if you're eligible.
Good places to start your search.
If you live in or near the Belmont neighborhood of Lincoln, look at Educare. It is tops in quality for early childhood education, and was developed specifically for children from low-income families and accepts child care subsidies.
CEDARS also has two early childhood education centers focused on children from low-income families. Their programs are nationally accredited and considered to be very high quality.
Lincoln's Early Head Start and Head Start programs serves children up to age 5 and their families. The program promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children. Head Start programs provide educational, health, nutritional, social, and other services to enrolled children and families. Head Start services are offered through Educare of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools.
Finding a child care provider
Use the Nebraska Resource and Referral System (NRRS) to search for child care options. The site’s “The Right Place” Child Care Finder is helpful and very easy to use. You can search for places that accept the child care subsidy, that work with special needs and more. You can even find drop-in programs and special activities for both you and your child.
You can also do an online search for licensed child care providers in Lincoln on the DHHS website. Select “Business/service,” then the search page will allow you to choose child care providers, and search by name, city, zip code, type of license, etc. If you’d rather just see a list of providers, you can download it here.
Short-term child care
The Respite Network provides information on free volunteer child-care providers that do “respite care.” Respite care is short-term child care so parents can have a needed break or take care of important family needs – like job interviews, final exams, etc. Most people don’t know about this resource, but it can be a major help when you need child care to get through a tough period.
Parenting help resources
- Home visiting services – A home visitor is a trained child development specialists who stops by for an hour each week. Your visitor will share with you information on your child’s development, show you activities you can do with your child to help keep their development on track, and act as a coach to help you become your child’s best teacher. These services are free and they are proven to help babies and toddlers in their development. Contact the City of Lincoln’s Healthy Families America program at 402-441-4103 to leave your contact information. Staff will get back to you to talk about services. Early Head Start offers free home visiting services. Families must apply in person at the Community Action Partnership, 210 O Street.
- Staying on Track is a free mobile app that lets you view different developmental milestones so you can make sure your child is growing and learning at a healthy rate. View the app now.
- Answers 4 Families is an organization providing online assistance to families in a variety of areas. Search for child care, access self-assessments to connect you with resources, download the Staying on Track app, connect to the Respite Network, and much more.
- Nebraska Family Help Hotline is a great resources when you need advice about parenting from a trained counselor. They’re available 24/7 and are happy to help connect you with resources. The Helpline is also available to caseworkers as a resource for data and knowledge of services available. Call 1-888-866-8660.