Meeting with Governor Scott Walker
Three members met with the Wisconsin Governor in support of home visiting and child care
A few years ago, Sheriff Brent Oleson of Juneau County, WI had a wake up call: When it came to the small, rural county’s overall health, Juneau was ranked 72nd out of 72 counties in Wisconsin. Since then, he and other county leaders have pushed for change to create a culture of health, using the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings to measure their success. Now ranked 55th, Juneau owes much of its progress to home visiting programs.
Sheriff Oleson proudly shared this story and data with Governor Scott Walker during a recent meeting, which also included fellow Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Marquette County Sheriff Kim Gaffney and Ready Nation member Nancy Armbrust, the former Vice President at Schreiber Foods.
As the current President and past President of the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, Sheriffs Gaffney and Oleson stressed the importance of voluntary home visiting programs to reducing child abuse and stopping the cycle of domestic violence, citing statistics from a recent report in support of home visiting, called Orange is Not Your Color. Home visiting programs have been proven to:
- cut child abuse and neglect by nearly half
- reduce the chance of future criminal convictions for participating mothers
- decrease the likelihood future arrests for participating kids years from now
As a business executive, Armbrust noted that voluntary home visiting has more societal benefits than just crime prevention: home visiting programs have helped mothers further their education and get good jobs.
She also spoke on behalf of business executives across Wisconsin, who are concerned about the lack of affordable child care. That’s why ReadyNation members are calling on the Governor to:
- increase the availability of 4- and 5-star rated childcare programs
- provide adequate funding to incentive talented teachers to work in childcare
- increase the state’s payment rates to child development centers
In closing, the trio thanked Governor Walker for his budget proposal that calls for increased funding for voluntary home visiting by $3.9 million, and encouraged him to continue growing the program, as well as to increase access to high-quality child care for families.