Report | February 24, 2021

Early Childhood Programs’ Scarcity Undermines Nebraska's Rural Communities

Quality early care and education can bolster public safety, the economy, and national security

Poverty is a significant challenge to children’s healthy development, wherever they happen to live in Nebraska. While this issue is frequently associated with families in urban centers, it is no less a problem for Nebraska’s rural communities. In fact, poverty is slightly more prevalent among children living in Nebraska’s rural communities than those living in the state’s major metropolitan areas. At the same time, children in rural communities often lack resources and supports, including quality early childhood care and education.

Quality early childhood care and education are critical for communities like Scottsbluff to thrive. They provide safe learning environments while parents are at work and teach children the skills necessary for success in life.

Kevin Spencer, Chief of Police, Scottsbluff Police Department

We must organize our investments in children strategically, wherever they happen to live in our state. Our investments in children living outside major metropolitan areas should be organized to address the infrastructure challenges specific to rural communities. The talents of all of our state’s residents, rural and metro, are needed to build a strong workforce that will contribute to a vibrant Nebraska economy, contribute to our public safety, and enhance national security in the long run.

We must ensure young Nebraskans in rural communities can access high-quality early care and education. Setting young people up for success is critical to the future of our state and our national security.

Brigadier General (Ret.) William F. Kuehn, U.S. Army


  1. Nebraska