Child Abuse and Neglect
Intensive Home Visiting:
A Powerful Crime Prevention Tool
FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS WASHINGTON is a bipartisan crime prevention organization led by over 200 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and other top law enforcement officials from across the State. As leaders on the front-line in the battle against crime, our mission is to take a hard-nosed look at the research about what works to help kids be successful in school and in life and, as a result, less likely to be involved in crime.
Research and experience show that certain targeted investments in programs that give kids a good start in life will prevent them from engaging in later crime and violence. These investments include evidence-based, intensive home visiting. Research shows that evidence-based, intensive home-visiting programs support at-risk parents as their childrens first and best teacher, improve health outcomes for parent and child, dramatically reduce child abuse and neglect, and help assure that children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
Children who survive abuse or neglect carry the emotional scars for life and most likely comprise a significant number of children deemed not ready for kindergarten and more likely to turn to crime. Not only do these programs spare children and communities the devastating consequences of child abuse and neglect, they also have been shown to provide an extremely high return on investment to taxpayers.
The 2007-09 budget provided $3.5 million for voluntary, intensive home-visiting programs. These funds are administered by the Council for Children and Families (CCF – formerly WCPCAN) and distributed to local communities and tribes through competitive grants.
The $3.5 million for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services in the 2007-2009 budget provided a down payment to meet the needs of at-risk families to assure that they have education and support to help their children get off to a good start in life. The Washington Home Visiting Coalition estimates that it would require $94 million per year in state and local funds to provide intensive home visiting to 50% of low-income families with children under the age of 5.
We are keenly aware of the budget deficit projected for the next biennium. However, given the fact that the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has estimated that one effective home visiting program the Nurse Family Partnership yields a net savings of over $18,000 per family, we believe an increased investment in programs such as these is a fiscally responsible action on the part of the Governor and legislature. Therefore, we are urging the Governor and legislature to include an additional $7 million for evidence-based home visiting programs in 2009-11 state budget. Although far from meeting the demand statewide, this investment will fund voluntary services to an additional 1,750 families and take us one step closer to reaching many of our most at-risk children and families.
If you would like further information or have any questions about Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Washington’s policy priorities, please contact Laura Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 664-7110.