LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A report on child care in Nevada points to the lack of affordable options for families, identifying the problem as a barrier to parents trying to enter the workforce.
“It is imperative that we explore new child care options including locating facilities in public or private areas that make it easier for parents,” according to Hugh Anderson, chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board (GWDB).
Inadequate access to child care limits the economy, impedes workforce and economic development, and even contributes to inflation, the report found. The report also indicates a need to identify how the state used $571 million in ARPA and CARES federal funding in making a plan to produce effective results.
Affordability is among the biggest problems. The reports said child care is often more expensive than putting a kid through college in Nevada.
“Access to child care is an essential component to maximizing our workforce and helping employers attract the workers they need. This child care report highlights the significant barrier that inadequate child care resources are having on our economy, business growth, and prosperity for families,” Anderson said.
Policy recommendations in the report include:
- Create child care hubs for employer clusters that are integrated with existing public transportation routes
- Utilize existing vacant or underutilized public space such as libraries and recreational centers
- Offer tax incentives to employers for underutilized for-profit space
- Expand partnerships with non-profit organizations
- Convene collaborative partnerships so more organizations have a seat at the table and can be part of the solutions
- Increase wages for child care workers and providers
- Develop career pathways into the child care industry
- Eliminate licensing and regulatory barriers
The report also identifies safety as a major concern, saying nine out of 30 child care providers did not conduct background checks of child care workers. An August 2022 report from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General said the safety of Nevada children was put in jeopardy at a third of licensed child care facilities in Nevada.
“Elevating the voices of underserved and often overlooked communities is a top priority for this group to make sure that child care services and funding are being allocated in an equitable way and promoting inclusivity in the labor force,” GWDB Vice Chair Ken Evans said.
The report will be sent to lawmakers in Carson City.