Report Links Quality Child Care and Crime Prevention

By Liedtke, Cyndy | Nation's Cities Weekly, June 5, 2000 | Go to article overview

Report Links Quality Child Care and Crime Prevention


Liedtke, Cyndy, Nation's Cities Weekly


A new report calls for increased federal and state investments in quality child care as a means of preventing crime in America's communities.

"America's Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy," from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, analyzes recent research in the area of child care and how it affects crime later in life.

Key findings include:

* Federal, state and local governments could greatly reduce crime and violence by assuring families access to good educational child care programs

* Low- and moderate-income working parents can not afford the cost of good child care programs any more than they could pay the full cost of sending their kids to public school.

* Governments are dropping the ball.

* Investing in quality child care and development programs will yield such crime reductions and other benefits that governments will have more money for other programs in the years ahead.

The research included in the report indicates that no state is close to meeting the full need for programs such as Head Start, universal access to pre-kindergarten and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which gives low-income parents access to quality child care. Programs such as these have been shown to help reduce crime and behavioral problems among at-risk children.

Studies included in the report concluded that children enrolled in government-funded child-parent centers have a reduced risk of arrest compared to children not involved with the program. A 22-year study of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program, for instance, shows that denying at-risk children quality child care may multiply by five times the risk of them becoming chronic lawbreakers as adults. …

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