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Ahead of Caucus, NV Advocates Push for Affordable Child Care

Quality child care is out of reach for many Nevada families, according to advocates who are speaking out ahead of Saturday's Democratic caucus. (anitapeppers/morguefile)
Quality child care is out of reach for many Nevada families, according to advocates who are speaking out ahead of Saturday's Democratic caucus. (anitapeppers/morguefile)
February 18, 2016

LAS VEGAS - Just days before Nevada's Democratic caucus, advocates for affordable child care have released a poll showing that by a 3-to-1 margin, likely caucus-goers favor equal pay for women and paid sick days for all workers.

The survey also found 61 percent favor greater access to affordable child care and paid family leave.

Erika Washington, Nevada state director for the nonprofit advocacy group Make It Work, says working parents in Nevada face outrageous costs.

"Nevada ranks in the top 10 least affordable states for infant care, 4-year-old child care and school-age care," says Washington. "And on average a Nevada family with an infant and a toddler pays nearly $18,000 annually for child care. That's more than the cost of tuition at UNLV."

The groups also held a rally at a child-care center in Las Vegas on Wednesday to raise local awareness. They have called for a substantial tax credit to be used for child care, and for universal, voluntary preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, says the candidates need to support programs that increase access to affordable child care.

"We know that quality child care is what makes it possible for moms and dads to get to work," Henry says. "But millions of families in this country are trapped in a vicious cycle of going to work just to pay for child care."

Henry notes that child-care workers in particular are very low paid, making an average of $20,000 a year in Nevada, which drives many of them onto public assistance.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV