Investing in Kids Fights Crime

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

"Shame on us that we're not taking care of vulnerable children. Shame on us," says K.P. Pelleran, State Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan.

In 2005, about one in five kids, under the age of five, were living in poverty -- at-risk children, many of which could not afford to go to pre-school.

"Let's take care of the at-risk kids because we're going to be taking care of them at the tail end," Pelleran says. "That will cost us a lot more if we don't take care of them at the front end."

According to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan, at-risk kids are 70 percent more likely to commit violent crimes if they aren't provided with early childhood education.

"They start very early on," explains Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth. "They don't have any skills. They've dropped out of school, and so their way of life is to commit crime."

On Monday, a group of community leaders and law enforcement officials met at the Kellogg Center to talk about the importance of investing in at-risk children -- through programs like Head Start and Great Start.

"There's the adult interaction that happens. It's a nurturing environment," says Ingham County Great Start Coordinator Michelle Nicholson. "They're exposed to lots of learning opportunities they might not get otherwise."

Currently the state, with the help of the federal government invests, $91 million dollars for preschool for at-risk four-year-olds. But that only covers about two-thirds of that demographic.

"You pay now or you pay later. It will cost money," says Rep. Joan Bauer, (D) Lansing. "In the long run it helps all of us. It helps our state. It will make it a better place to live and work in."

Adds Sheriff Wriggelsworth, "It's a cheap fix. It's an upfront fix that could take law enforcement out of the picture."

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  • by georgia Location: detroit on Sep 24, 2007 at 06:44 PM
    it's about time someone told the now or later says alot.poverty doesn't do anyone any just don't get it why they can't have this or that,can't have what some other kids have,can't do what other kids do.when you've been made fun of by bullies get to the point why one else does.much of this leads to crime in the long run,races against races are still a problem as well.there bad housing in mich,needs cleaned up.people need taught young about many things.and sorry but religon don't hurt.unfortunally the way things have went up in price,isn't helping money problems in the homes of were faced with a budget we can't find answers to.if many programs are cut,this will only add to the problems of education and help to the poor.some understand this some don't.more need to get out there and tell what these cuts will do,and what the cost will be later on.higher taxes or what?LATER ON.
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