NEVADA NEWS BRIEFS
December 16, 2014
Nevada Home-Visitation Program
The clock is ticking on federal funding for a program that helps struggling parents with young children in Nevada and across the nation.
Unless Congress takes action, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program will expire in March.
Amanda Haboush-Deloye, director of programs at Prevent Child Abuse Nevada, is part of a coalition of 750 organizations, nonprofits and elected officials that sent a letter to Congress asking that the program continue as it has for decades.
She said research has shown voluntary home visits, usually conducted by nurses and social workers, can prevent serious problems and help with a child's development.
"If you identify those issues earlier and get early intervention, that's beneficial for the child and it allows them to get the treatment and the services they need," she said.
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According to Haboush-Deloye, home visits also help ensure children's medical appointments are kept, homes are safe as babies begin to explore, and that families receive books and other child-development tools.
There's a financial payoff for the state as well. Haboush-Deloye points to a RAND Corporation report that found home-visiting programs saved up to $6 for every $1 invested.
"For every dollar that goes into home visiting," she said. "There's $6 that isn't needed to be spent on that child on different services, or areas like juvenile justice later on throughout their life."
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America and The Salvation Army are among the national organizations that signed the letter.
On average, funding has been at about $400 million per year.
DO HOMEwoRK BEFORE DONATING
Nevadans are being encouraged to be cautious when donating to nonprofits this holiday season.
People should be doing some homework before making a donation and be wary of anyone asking for money over the phone or Internet or using high-pressure tactics, said Beverly Salhanick, an attorney in Las Vegas who is a member of the Nevada Justice Association.
"Send me your information or give me your website," she said. "Let me go check you out and I'll get back to you. If they really need the money, a day or two won't hurt."
Salhanick said the opportunity of getting swindled this week is higher than normal because scammers may be taking advantage of the popularity of the national #GivingTuesday campaign.
Another big factor to consider, she said, is how much of each dollar actually goes to help those in need. Salhanick said Give.org and CharityNavigator.org are websites where nonprofits can be researched.
"How much of that money actually goes to the purpose of the organization? For example," she said, "does it go to help children, if you're giving to a children's-oriented charity? Does it go to help animals? Does it go to veterans?"
Salhanick said a good rule of thumb is to support organizations where at least 75 percent of all donations directly benefit those in need.
Nevada lawmakers are expected to consider the "Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act" in the legislative session that starts in February.
Barry Gold, government relations director at AARP Nevada, said the bill would improve the ability of caregivers to care for others.
"The CARE Act is going to ensure that family caregivers, and those that they care for, will get the right information when someone is discharged from the hospital," he said. "It will make sure that the information gets to the right person and that they're shown what to do, and it will really help people get better care and keep them from going back in the hospital."
Gold said the "CARE Act" would require hospitals to enter a family caregiver's name in the medical record at the time a patient is admitted, notify the caregiver when the patient is due to be released and ensure that the caregiver is instructed in any follow-up care needed at home, such as dressing wounds or managing prescriptions.
To address the daily challenges caregivers face, Gold said AARP launched the iHeartCareGivers website for people to share their stories. He said those tales of struggle could compel state lawmakers to pass the CARE Act.
"The more stories we get on iHeartCaregivers," he said, "the easier it will be to document the problems caregivers face and what an easy solution this would be to help both the caregivers and those they love."
Gold said the legislation would help anyone of any age providing care for another person, whether it be a child or a senior. He said similar bills passed unanimously in Oklahoma and New Jersey.
The iHeartCaregivers website is at iheartcaregivers.
A protest occurred at the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) auction of oil and gas leases that could result in fracking on public lands in Nevada.
Dan Patterson, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, is among those who organized the protest. He said fracking in Nevada would threaten a water supply already devastated by drought.
"To risk our adequate supplies of clean water is a giant risk to the quality of life, and the underlying economy of Nevada," said Patterson. "We think it is unwise."
Patterson added that fracking could also cause water pollution, and harm watersheds and wildlife habitat.
A slang term for hydraulic fracturing, "fracking" typically involves a high-pressure blend of water and other chemicals injected deep into the Earth's crust to break apart oil and gas deposits.
Chris Rose, public information officer at the BLM's Nevada state office, said the sale was only for the leasing of the lands, and fracking and other forms of energy development would require further consideration.
Rose said an oil and gas lease is for a period of 10 years with annual rentals of a $1.50 per acre for the first five years, and $2.00 per acre after that.
rural tax credits
A tax credit that helps many low-income working families keep more of their earnings is proving to be especially important in rural areas and small towns across Nevada and the nation, according to a new study by the Center for Rural Affairs.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is touted as one of the most effective anti-poverty policy efforts.
"The Earned Income Tax Credit was used by more people in rural and small-town, small-city areas than in big urban areas in the country," said Jon Bailey, the center's rural policy director and the study's author.
Bailey said the higher use of the tax credit tracks right along with the other economic indicators that point to many rural families still struggling financially.
Nationwide, the number of those who claim the credit is less than 19 percent in metropolitan areas, compared with more than 21 percent in rural areas and small towns and cities.
Bailey predicts that divide will continue to widen.
"Because the gap between rural areas and urban areas has been growing," he explains. "So, if that trend continues, I would suspect that more people are going to need to use the Earned Income Tax Credit. It's going to be even more important."
Bailey said the increasing importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit to working families should send a message to federal policymakers to strongly consider proposals to expand its reach, making more people eligible.
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