Lawmakers earmark $30m for child care, approve $5m in technology and staff at state agencies

By: - May 5, 2022 3:08 pm

Based on federal standards, child care is not considered affordable for the majority of Nevadans. (Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash)

Nevada’s plan to boost its beleaguered child care industry took another step forward Thursday as state lawmakers officially set aside $30 million for grant funding to support the expansion or building of new licensed child care facilities across the state.

The Interim Finance Committee, which approves major state spending when the full Legislature is not in session, approved the money without discussion or fanfare, but Democratic leaders praised the approval in a press release sent after the meeting.

“Availability and affordability of child care is a critical need for Nevada families and remains one of my top priorities,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak in a statement. “These grant dollars will help providers make immediate changes to upgrade or expand facilities, so more families have access to care.”

The $30 million is part of an expected $160 million in investments for child care, which was previously announced by the governor. Related projects include the launching of the Nevada Strong Start Child Care Services Center (CCSC), a one-stop hub for future and current child care providers, as well as parents and guardians.

The child care provider grants will be overseen by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ Welfare and Supportive Services Division.

An additional $2.05 million in grant funding was approved for programs already chosen by state administrators:

  • $1 million to Special Olympics Nevada for its Strong Minds Program, which provides mental health wrap-around services for teacher, students and parents
  • $506,428 to The Shade Tree to expand staffing at its shelter for victims of domestic violence
  • $199,458 to Community Services Agency to provide work experience for at-risk youth in the Washoe County School District
  • $118,170 to Assistance League Las Vegas to support Operation School Bell, which provides clothing and school supplies to students at Title-1 schools in Clark County
  • $106,386 to Fallon Youth Club to purchase two vans to transport youth to educational programs and activities
  • $44,280 to Ely Co-Op Magic Carpet Preschool for staffing, training, personal protective equipment and supplies
  • $42,000 to the White Pine Ministerial Association to expand its White Pine County Food Bank
  • $41,600 to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet to establish additional mobile distribution spots for its Douglas County food program

IFC approved approximately $5.08 million for various technology and new staff at a variety of state agencies:

  • $1.5 million to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for replacement radios for Division of Forestry employees
  • $1.4 million to the Gaming Control Board for technological upgrades, including the replacement of its electronic data storage systems and videoconferencing equipment and forensic software
  • $652,000 to the Nevada Equal Rights Commission to implement a new case management intake system
  • $477,606 to the Office of Health Administration for a electronic contract and grant management system
  • $399,083 to the Office of the State Controller to fund three-full time position and one contracted position, which the office says it needs because of an increased workload related to the influx of federal funds coming into the state
  • $369,823 to the Department of Health and Human Services for three additional positions and one part-time contracted positions to work in fiscal department
  • $201,637 to the Department of Taxation for technology updates
  • $68,449 to the Department of Public Safety for technology and equipment for its training and testing division

All the money allocated by the IFC Thursday comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.