Law Enforcement Leaders Testify in Support of Voluntary Home Visiting Programs
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Maine members support Maine Families program
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members Caribou Chief of Police Michael Gahagan and York Chief of Police Doug Bracy testified before the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services on March 20 in support of increased funding for Maine’s voluntary home visiting program, Maine Families. This testimony was timely, not only as the state budget is being considered, but also because April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and the Maine legislature plans to issue a proclamation in support of awareness and prevention efforts.
Home visiting programs can reduce child abuse and neglect and the likelihood that at-risk children will commit violent crimes later in life.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member York Chief of Police Doug Bracy
York Chief of Police Doug Bracy and Health and Human Services Committee House Chair Patricia Hymanson (D-York)
According to the most recent Maine Kids Count Data Book, 3,247 children in Maine were substantiated victims of child abuse and neglect in 2015. Last year, Maine Families focused on serving more families involved with Child Protective Services. Of the 160 families who had involvement with Child Protective Services in 2018 and then participated in Maine Families programming, 145 of them (91%) had no further reports of child abuse and neglect during their participation with Maine Families. Home visitors can help prevent child abuse and neglect by helping families build the skills and confidence for managing the stresses of parenthood.
Being the parent of an infant is hard. That’s where the home visitor comes in – helping new parents gain the knowledge and skills they need.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Caribou Chief of Police Michael Gahagan
The mission of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is to prevent crime and violence by investing in approaches proven to give kids the right start in life. Along with high-quality early education, voluntary home visiting and parent coaching programs are an important piece of this approach. Home visiting programs can keep children from ever needing child protective services. Now, that is an outcome wholeheartedly supported by law enforcement.
Caribou Chief Michael Gahagan poses with a “Junior Police Officer” during a visit to a local Head Start program.