Illinois law enforcement leaders speak out for home visiting
Funding for evidence-based parent-coaching programs "can't get lost in the shuffle"
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, and Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley took a stand last week for increased funding for a key crime prevention program in Illinois.
Law enforcement officials, advocates, and others are calling for more investment in early childhood programs as a way to fight abuse and neglect. https://t.co/mXCtcjSPi3— WBBM Newsradio (@WBBMNewsradio) September 22, 2020
The law enforcement leaders expressed concern over a rise in child abuse and neglect cases during the COVID pandemic. State’s Attorney McMahon’s jurisdiction — Kane County — has seen a 27% increase in such cases over the total of cases in 2019… with three and half months yet to go in this year. Child abuse and neglect, McMahon pointed out, have repercussions that can last for generations. “A national study,” said McMahon, citing a new Fight Crime: Invest in Kids report, has found that children who have experienced abuse and neglect are twice as likely to commit a crime by the time they reach the age of 19. Any strategy we’re going to implement to snap that multi-generational cycle of violence needs to start with getting parents the support they need.“
“If we’re serious about ending the violence that plagues far too many communities across our state, we have to take the long view and address the root causes of violence.” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahonhttps://t.co/4M0kygUPpL— Kane County SAO (@KaneSAO) September 25, 2020
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart concurred that "prevention is the key.” He said, “Furthermore, the best forms of prevention — and the ones that give you the biggest bang for the buck — are high-quality early childhood programs. The evidence shows: If we focused more public investments on those first five years of life, when the human brain is developing at its fastest rate, we’d see healthier families, and less crime.”
“The evidence is startling” as Cook County Sheriff @TomDart says here in the Daily Herald regarding #homevisiting. “It is so clear that prevention is the key solution. There is no arresting your way out of problems.” https://t.co/DaBd4pfd92 via @DH_ckeeshan @dh_ssarkauskas #ILPN3— Fight Crime Illinois (@FightCrimeIL) September 25, 2020
Dart praised home visiting — voluntary parent-coaching programs for mothers and fathers prior to or during the first three years of their child’s life. These are evidence-based strategies with proven benefits for families facing adverse conditions, he said: improved long-term academic and health outcomes for children, and a reduction in reported cases of child maltreatment.
Maria Medina, a teen mom who has received home visiting services from DuPage County’s Teen Parent Connection, joined the law enforcement leaders in the online news conference. She described the effect of the program in her life: “It was too good to be true, honestly. I didn’t know there was an organization out there willing to help a young parent strive to be a better parent and do better in the world, to be honest with you.”
"I think that—honestly—I would not be standing here today without [Teen Parent Connection @TeenParentNP]. They helped me get a job… they helped me understand my kid when I needed support the most,” said a DuPage County mom about her #homevisiting program. https://t.co/rKEJLyGBXA pic.twitter.com/xdWFtlvuMn— Fight Crime Illinois (@FightCrimeIL) September 23, 2020
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids State Director Tim Carpenter said that state funding for these programs — like the one that benefited Medina and her family — had remained stagnant for several years. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids supports the recommendation of the Illinois Prenatal to Three Initiative (PN3) to expand home visiting services to reach an additional 15,000 children and families over the next five years, he added. Carpenter also expressed support for the bipartisan Illinois Early Childhood Funding Commission, which is crafting proposals for a more stable and equitable system of early care and education in the state, including home visiting services.
Dart acknowledged that, with state and local budgets strapped due to the COVID pandemic, Congressional action might be necessary to increase needed investments in children and families. "Our federal partners have to get actively engaged in helping us,” he said. “There’s no realistic way… we can do that without federal support. So while that debate is going back and forth in Washington, about whether they should send money to the states or not… Without those types of interventions, so many different things are going to be collapsing.”
“Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said funding for programs like home visits can’t be put on the back-burner by the state and the federal government…‘Yes, the report’s out, the evidence is as strong as ever,’ Dart said. ‘This can’t get lost in the shuffle.’” https://t.co/qRZXiNxjUm— Fight Crime Illinois (@FightCrimeIL) September 23, 2020
The new research report from Fight Crime is entitled Reducing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Parent-coaching programs in Illinois improve academic and health outcomes. It quickly received the support of other law enforcement leaders, including Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel…
PD Chief Tom Weitzel-“The abuse and neglect of infants and toddlers is a gut-wrenching tragedy. Its prevention will help us break the cycle of violence that plagues too many of our families.“ Please read FCIK report https://t.co/l0Wna0OPwp https://t.co/7UvwSDwTYu pic.twitter.com/dTSiqVhMUw— Riverside Police (@PDRiverside) September 22, 2020
…and Naperville Chief Robert Marshall.
During these challenging times when more children are at home, there has been an increase in crimes against children-pls check out this valuable program!@FightCrimeIL https://t.co/1LKfgVNYNc— Robert W. Marshall (@ChiefRMarshall) September 24, 2020
Illinois advocates for investments in early childhood programs also joined the chorus:
Applauding new @FightCrimeIL report outlining the critical importance of #homevisiting programs for healthier babies and stronger families as part of our ambitious prenatal to age three #ILPN3 goal to reach an additional 15,000 children and families by 2025. https://t.co/5VxcFEYcq0— Ounce of Prevention (@theOunce) September 22, 2020
Thank you @FightCrimeIL for this report that highlights over 40 years of @NFP_nursefamily research. Increasing access to evidence-based home visiting is integral as the number of families that could benefit far outpaces the availability of programs https://t.co/J3h4Qd5g4C— Jordan Wildermuth (@J_Wildermuth) September 23, 2020
For more, here is a five-minute "highlight reel” of the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids press conference:
And here it is in its entirety:
Pictured in the photo at the top of the page: Tim Carpenter, Illinois State Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon; Cook County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon; Rosy Barrera, Family Support Specialist for DuPage County’s Teen Parent Connection; Maria Medina, a participant in the Healthy Families Illinois program; and Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley.