Policy summit promotes needs of youngest Nevadans

Policy summit promotes needs of youngest Nevadans
Photo by Ana Tablas on Unsplash

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

LAS VEGAS–The needs of Nevada’s babies and toddlers and their parents will be front and center Friday, Feb. 4 at the 2022 Winter Policy Summit run by the Children’s Advocacy Alliance. The virtual event runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Experts, lawmakers and nonprofit leaders will learn about the Prenatal to Three State Policy Roadmap.

Dr. Cynthia Osborne, executive director of the Prenatal to Three Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt University, developed the roadmap and will be a featured speaker.

“If you can get it right in those three years, it really has lifetime benefits for the child in terms of health and economic well-being,” Osborne explained. “And children who are exposed to adversity early on, it ends up having neurological and biological damage to the developing child, which also can have lifelong consequences.”

The summit is one in a series of events designed to prepare for the next legislative session in 2023. Advocates are pressing the state of Nevada to extend Medicaid eligibility to low-income mothers for 12 months postpartum, instead of the current six months. They also are asking for more state funding for preventive programs like in-home visits to families with newborns.

Jamelle Nance, director of the Start Strong Prenatal to Three Initiative at the Children’s Advocacy Alliance in Las Vegas, said she would like the state to dedicate more funding to early investments in children and families, including ensuring access to health care and affordable child care.

“What we really want to do is make sure that families have access and can afford child care, so they can return back to work,” Nance noted.

The online summit is open to the public, but you have to register ahead of time via the Alliance’s website.