The Legislature declares that it shall be the policy of the State of Nebraska to:
(1) Recognize the family as the most important social and economic unit of society and support the central role parents play in raising children. All parents are encouraged to care for and nurture their children through the traditional methods of parental care at home. However, to the extent early childhood care and education and school-age-care programs are used, parents are encouraged to participate fully in the effort to improve the quality of such programs;
(2) Promote a variety of culturally and developmentally appropriate child care programs of high quality;
(3) Promote the growth, development, and safety of children by working with community groups and agencies, including providers and parents, to establish standards for high-quality programs, training of providers, fair and equitable monitoring, and salary levels commensurate with provider responsibilities and support services;
(4) Promote equal access to high-quality, affordable, and socioeconomically integrated programs for all children and families; and
(5) Facilitate broad community and private sector involvement in the provision of high-quality programs to foster economic development and assist business.
The Legislature supports the full integration of children with special needs into the same child care environments serving children with no identified handicapping conditions.
The Legislature also finds that family child care homes should be the primary focus in upgrading child care programs in Nebraska at this time. There is a need for a larger, more visible, and better trained supply of family child care homes.