Blog | June 1, 2021

The History of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, learn more about our members and their sustained advocacy since 1996

1996 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids was founded by Sandy Newman and U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson in response to rising crime and the crime bill passed in the mid-1990s, to instead focus on proven investments that research shows can steer kids away from crime and towards successful lives.

1997 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids teams up with Attorney General Janet Reno to release a new report: “The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime,” making the public safety case for investments in afterschool programs. Coverage of the event reaches 25 million people in print and broadcast circulation.

1998 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens its first state office in Chicago, IL.

2000 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens a California office in Oakland.

2001 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens a state office in Pennsylvania. In April, the office held a media event with Senator Arlen Specter in Harrisburg, discussing investments in early childhood.

2002 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids helped to win major investments in afterschool programs at both the state and federal level. The 21st Century Community Learning Center, a federal program, was increased to $1 billion. California voters passed Proposition 49, which dedicates $550 million annually for afterschool programs.

2003 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Pennsylvania helps win the state’s first-ever investment in pre-k with $15 million for the new Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program line item, thereby ending PA’s “distinction” at the time of being one of only nine states that did not invest any of its own money in pre-k.

2004 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens state offices in Maine, Ohio, and Oregon.

2006 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids open a state office in Washington state.

2006 | Then-District-Attorney Kamala Harris advocated for preschool expansion, joining other Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members at an Oakland preschool to release our report, “Paying the Price for the High Cost of Preschool in California.” Later that year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the 2006-2007 state budget which provided a half a billion dollars in new funding for children and families, including $100 million for preschool expansion and facilities.

2010 | Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), the first-ever federal support for voluntary home visiting, passed Congress in large part due to the hard work of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members.

2012 | MIECHV was reauthorized after Fight Crime: Invest in Kids sent a letter to Congress signed by more than 1,500 law enforcement leaders advocating for the CAN-MIECHV reauthorization.

2013 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids launches a national campaign called, “I’m the Guy You Pay Later,” in support of early childhood education. The campaign garners 170 media stories that reach an audience of 67 million people.

2013 | Members from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and its sibling organizations in Michigan helped win a $130 million two-year expansion of the state’s Great Start Readiness program, allowing more than 21,000 additional four-year olds to have access to high-quality preschool, the biggest preschool expansion at the time.

Clinton County Sheriff Wayne Kangas, Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, and Gratiot County Sheriff Doug Wright at a press conference at the Clinton County Jail in October 2013, releasing the research report “I’m the Guy you Pay Later"

2013 | Mississippi joins every other southern state to provide state-funding for high-quality early education when it approved $3 million in funding for preschool. This happens after Council for a Strong America members, including members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, sent letters, met with lawmakers – including the governor – and published opinion pieces.

2014 | After much work by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, the state enacts Assembly Bill 420 to limit the use of suspensions for relatively minor misbehavior and support positive alternatives, by barring suspension on the grounds of disruption or defiance for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Pie chart of suspension and expulsion rates

2015 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens a state office in Texas. Texas members become instrumental in helping to achieve $118 million in state funds for pre-k.

2015 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members met with key policymakers, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in support of making permanent the 2009 extensions of the Child Tax Credit (CDC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

2017 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids opens a state office in Colorado.

2018 | The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) is reauthorized for five years. County Attorney John Werden (Carroll County, IA) and Chief Patrick Flannelly (Lafayette, IN) testify in support of JJDPA in the years leading up to the reauthorization.

2019 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released an updated research report, “From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe,” which showed the hours after school, between 2-6 PM, are still the prime-time for juvenile time.

Barry Ford, President and CEO of Council for a Strong America, joined the Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance in a national radio tour that was aired on over 600 different channels and reached over 17 million people.

On October 24th, as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s annual Lights On Afterschool campaign, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids participated in events across 10 states.

2021 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids celebrates its 25th anniversary.


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