High Quality Early Learning:
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 home visiting and high quality early learning programs.
Evidence-based Home Visiting
Research shows that evidence-based, intensive home-visiting programs support at-risk parents as their childrens first and most important teachers, 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.
In 2007, the legislature appropriated $3.5 million to support investment in evidence-based home visiting programs. These funds are administered by the Council for Children and Families and distributed to local communities and tribes through competitive grants. The grants help communities assure that at-risk families have education and support to help their children get off to a good start in life. They also leverage an additional $2 of federal and local funds for every $1 invested by Washington State. Law enforcement leaders urge the legislature to:
Keep Washingtons $3.5 million investment to provide voluntary, evidence-based
home visiting services through the Council for Children and Families.
High Quality Early Learning
High quality early learning programs help children learn to get along with others and start school ready to succeed. When children at the highest risk of school failure attend these programs they are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to commit crimes as juveniles and adults. Many efforts are underway in Washington to increase graduation rates, but high quality early learning is the most tested and widely adopted school reform shown to increase graduation rates. To increase access to high quality early learning programs, law enforcement leaders urge the legislature to:
Adopt the Basic Education Finance Task Force recommendation
to include early learning in the definition of basic education
Maintain current level of funding for the
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)
Support increased professional development of early learning teachers by enacting HB 1943
For more information please contact: Laura Wells ~ (206) 664-7110 firstname.lastname@example.org