Raymond Police Chief Shares Importance of Home Visiting Programs in Washington State
Chief Chuck Spoor spoke with Mark Shriver, Jennifer Garner, First Lady Trudi Inslee, and two state representatives about home visiting’s proven ability to reduce crime
Seated at a table with prominent national leaders on children’s issues, Washington state’s First Lady, and two state representatives, Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor had the opportunity last month to talk about the programs that matter to him as a law enforcement leader.
His focus? Voluntary home visiting programs that provide parent coaching to at-risk families.
Home visiting programs help parents establish healthy, stable home environments where kids can grow and thrive. Chief Spoor, a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, spoke about the wide range of positive outcomes home visits generate for families, including their ability to reduce crime. He cited research from the longest running study of a home visiting program, the Nurse Family Partnership, that found that children who did not receive home visits experienced twice as many arrests and more than twice as many convictions by age 19 compared to their peers who had.
This powerful evidence brought the Chief to a “light bulb moment” about how impactful and important these programs are, he said.
Chief Spoor may have seemed like a unique advocate among the lunch’s guests, which included Save the Children CEO Mark Shriver and Board Member Jennifer Garner, Washington’s First Lady Trudi Inslee, and State Representatives Ruth Kagi and Mark Chapman. Later in the lunch, Rep. Kagi remarked that law enforcement’s support for home visiting and early learning overall is hugely helpful when it comes to the programs’ fates in the state legislature. The lunch’s diverse attendees helped highlight the the unique support that home visiting has earned from families, government officials, law enforcement leaders, and children’s organizations alike.
Erica Hallock, Washington State Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, was also in attendance at the lunch and spoke about her work as the convener for Washington’s Home Visiting Advocacy Committee. She described the network of organizations and programs that make up Washington’s home visiting system and help parents get the tools they need to create healthy, nurturing homes.
Washington has taken an intentional approach to home visiting with a defined and collaborative process that relies on data for distributing any new funds, Hallock said. What’s more, the state recognizes that “one size does not fit all” and that it’s important to offer a variety of designs and approaches in these programs that are meant to meet family needs across different regions.
Hallock said Washington has seen an increased focus on home visiting in recent years, which has resulted in better access to different program models. The 2018 state budget included a 40% increase in state funding for home visiting, as well as a coordinated effort to look into new funding sources.
Hallock’s and Chief Spoor’s remarks were just one part of a day’s events coordinated by Save the Children and meant to highlight Washington’s Early Steps to School Success program – a home visiting program that serves 400 families in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. Earlier in the day, the participants completed different site visits to homes of families that receive coaching through the Early Steps to School Success program. Following the site visits, the group visited elementary schools to join in “read alouds” with students.