FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS TENNESSEE is a bipartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization led by 150 police chiefs, sheriffs, District Attorneys General, and victims of violence. Our mission is to take a hard-nosed look at the research about what really works to keep kids from becoming criminals and to share that information with the public and policymakers.
FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS TENNESSEE works on a continuum of areas where at-risk children need support to live safe and healthy lives. These include:
Child Abuse and Neglect:
Over 18,000 cases of child abuse and neglect occur in Tennessee each year. In addition to the damage done to these children, this number of abused children creates over 350 additional violent criminals each year and annually costs the state over $850 million.
Research demonstrates that high quality home visiting programs are the best way to build stronger families and reduce incidences of child abuse and neglect. FIGHT CRIME works at both the state and federal level to expand home visiting programs and to improve the quality of those programs. To this end we support the passage of the federal Education Begins at Home Act and the proposed expansion in the Presidents budget. In Tennessee our members advocate for improving the standards for home visiting programs and for expansion of home visiting services.
High quality Early Education is critical in helping at-risk children be better prepared for the educational and social aspects of school. Research clearly demonstrates that at-risk children who participate in Head Start and high quality Pre-K are more likely to do well in school, not drop out and go on to graduate. If Tennessee could increase its graduation rate by 10%, we would see a reduction in violent crime of 20% and a savings of over $350 million per annum.
At the federal level, FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS TENNESSEE works for expansion of Head Start to overcome years when funding has fallen far behind need. We have also worked to preserve Head Starts high quality federal standards.
In Tennessee we have worked to expand Pre-K so that the state currently spends $83 million in state dollars which funds classrooms for 18,000 at-risk 4 year-olds. We also worked to maintain the outstanding quality of Tennessees program, one of the top five in the nation.