Early Childhood

Where the journey of life long learning begins…

Planning Region Team 18

In Nebraska, Early Childhood Planning Region Teams function as local inter-agency coordinating councils.  There are 28 Planning Regions in the state. Each one covers a specific geographic area, ranging from one school district to several counties.  Every area of the state is within the boundaries of a Planning Region.

Planning Region Teams provide the community level mechanism for planning and assisting with the implementation of the Early Intervention Act. The purpose of the Act is to support healthy families who are able to make their own decisions to have access to services and resources as early as possible. Specifically, the responsibilities of the local PRT include:

  • Discussing issues of regional concern
  • Making recommendations and providing feedback to local agencies
  • Identifying the potential agency to provide services coordination for the region
  • Working with the Services Coordinator(s) to identify gaps and develop resources and services needed
  • Identifying training and technical assistance needs
  • Conducting meetings at least quarterly
  • Working on ChildFind and public awareness to identify young children

Lincoln Public Schools and the Early Development Network in Lincoln chair the meetings for PRT #18.  The meetings are held the second Monday of every month from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Lincoln Public Schools district office at 5905 O Street.  Each team is required by law to include representatives from:

  • Families of children with special needs, age 12 or younger (at least 20% of the membership)
  • Local School Districts and Educational Service Units (ESUs)
  • Health and Human Services
  • The services coordination contracting agency
  • Health/Medical and Developmental Disabilities Services
  • Head Start or Early Head Start
  • Underserved children and families, including low income, inner city, Indian, homeless, migrant, and minority populations, and rural areas as applicable for the region
  • Child care
  • Regions are also encouraged to have representatives from other public and private agencies, business community leaders and clergy.

If you are interested in attending a meeting please contact Cassie Macke at 402-436-1920.

Local Agencies Supporting Planning Region Team #18:

  • Lincoln Public Schools/Early Development Network
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • Asian Community and Cultural Center
  • Autism Family Network
  • Behaven Kids
  • Bryan Health NICU
  • Child Guidance Center
  • Complete Children’s Health
  • Community Action Partnerships
  • DHHS Community Support
  • DHHS Protection/Safety Education
  • Early Learning Connection – ESU #6
  • El Centro de las Americas
  • Heartland Big Brothers/Sisters
  • Lincoln Public Schools Assistive Technology
  • Lincoln Public Schools Health Services
  • Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department – Healthy Families America
  • Milkworks
  • Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network
  • Nebraska Medically Handicapped Children’s Program
  • Parent Training Institute
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Sixpence
  • Teach a Kid to Fish
  • The ARC of Lincoln
  • UNL Children’s Center
  • YWCA Lincoln
Cara Lucas-Richt : Director of Early Childhood

Cara Lucas-Richt

Director of Early Childhood



Our Leadership Team

Monica Asher
Early Childhood
Infant/Toddler Coordinator
402-436-1968 | masher@lps.org

Alexandria Baruth
Early Intervention
Supervisor of Early Intervention Program
402-436-1675 | abaruth@lps.org

Tricia Phillips
Early Childhood – Preschool Program Supervisor
402-436-1996 | tphilli@lps.org

Shelby Watson
Early Childhood Budget Coordinator
402-436-1876 | swatson2@lps.org