Preventing Crime Through Voluntary Home Visiting
In New Mexico, home visiting programs reduce child abuse and neglect
Every year, around 7,600 children in New Mexico experience abuse or neglect, most often by a parent or guardian. Sadly, children who are abused or neglected are twice as likely to become involved in crime later in life.
The good news is that child abuse and neglect is preventable. Evidence-based home-visiting programs that work with at-risk parents during the first years of child’s life have been shown to cut child abuse and neglect and future crime by 50 percent or more.
Less than 6% of New Mexico’s zero-to-three year olds have access to a home-visiting program
Home-visiting programs also have been shown to improve children’s health and development and families’ economic self-sufficiency. So increasing New Mexico’s home visiting program is one of the best steps to protect children and prevent crime. Currently, less than 6 percent of New Mexico’s zero-to-three year olds have access to a home-visiting program.
This report builds the case that investing in early childhood is less costly than spending money in the state prison system, which costs New Mexico roughly $300 million per year. The human and fiscal costs of crime are unsustainable, so the best route is to address the root of the problem by preventing crime in the first place.