Illinois Law Enforcement Urges New Governor to Focus on Early Childhood
163 Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members sign letter to JB Pritzker and General Assembly
In January, Illinois swore in a new governor and 50 new members of the state legislature. Law enforcement leaders — wishing to ensure that the new administration and Illinois’ 101st General Assembly emphasize proven-crime prevention strategies in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget — wrote a letter urging smart investments in children and families.
163 members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, including sheriffs, police chiefs, state’s attorneys, and violence survivors, signed on to the missive, saying “we support sound, research-based strategies — such as early childhood and afterschool programs, and community-based diversion initiatives for troubled youth — that get young people off to the right start in life” and decrease criminal activity.
Significantly, the letter addressed the distinct possibility that Illinois will engage in a major capital program for infrastructure needs in the coming year, asserting that any such program should include at least $250 million for early childhood construction and repair. “In far too many of Illinois’ most-challenged communities,” the law enforcement leaders wrote, “the lack of facilities for early childhood classrooms… may well be the biggest obstacle to reaching more children with quality early childhood programs.” Since the letter was sent, resolutions with bipartisan sponsorship have been introduced in the State House and Senate to prioritize these dire needs.
The letter also recommended increased funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant, home-visiting programs funded through the Department of Human Services, and Teen REACH afterschool programs, and maintaining current appropriations for the Child Care Assistance Program and the juvenile Redeploy Illinois anti-recidivism program. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids hopes to see these priorities included in Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address on February 20.
High-quality preschool and birth-to-3 programs can help dramatically reduce future crime.
Fight Crime members meet with newly-elected Lake County legislators to discuss the crime-prevention benefits of early education, after-school, and juvenile justice diversion programs. Pictured are: Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, Rep. Joyce Mason, Rep. Daniel Didech, Fight Crime State Director Tim Carpenter, Rep. Tom Weber, Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven Casstevens, Grayslake Police Chief Phillip Perlini, and Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husak.
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