Child care should be a right

One of the signature policy proposals of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid is the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan, which would provide affordable, and even free, child care for working families. Child care is an incredible expense to working parents and an industry in dire need of some sort of federal assistance.

Folks without young children might not understand how pressing this financial burden can be.

From Warren's website: “Today, in more than half the states in the country, a year of child care costs more than a year of in-state college tuition. We're placing a huge financial burden on working families looking to find a safe and nurturing place for their kids.”

It should surprise no one familiar with the state's often regressive economy that Nevada is among those states where child care is more expensive than college tuition.

In Northern Nevada, there's an additional problem: There's not enough daycare to go around. Many local parents of young children are on waiting lists at several different daycare centers around the valley. Working parents aren't usually fortunate enough to choose a daycare center that's right for them. They have to wait for an opening. And this might be at a substandard center or a daycare center across town—creating a further expense, of time and gas money, for parents who have to transport kids.

It's even more difficult for parents who work unusual hours, like evenings and weekends, because most daycare centers aren't even open then.

And most daycare centers are not in ideal condition. The employees are underpaid and overworked, since they're expected to mind more children than an old woman who lives in a shoe. Because of this, daycare centers have high turnover among employees, which often places parents in the uncomfortable position of handing over their young children to people they've just met, whose names they might not even know.

Warren: “In the wealthiest country on the planet, access to affordable and high-quality child care and early education should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the rich.”

We hope that, regardless of who becomes the nominee, this issue continues to be in the discussion through the general election and beyond.

Some parents have to work overtime or an extra job just to afford child care. Finding a balance between family and career is always difficult, but most parents actually want to spend more time with their children—having to scrounge to pay for daycare means that they actually see their kids less. It's a lose-lose situation.