Blog | April 3, 2019

Chief of Police Mike Field testifies in Support of Social-Emotional Learning and Development

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member speaks to importance of early learning and development for young children in Maine

Mike Field

On April 1, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Maine member Bath Chief of Police Mike Field testified before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. Chief Field offered his support of LD 997 “An Act To Promote Social and Emotional Learning and Development for Young Children.”

Numerous studies of high-quality early learning programs have shown that students who participate in high-quality early care and education programs have better academic achievement, cognitive development, and grade retention. Studies have also found that quality early learning programs can contribute to positive social-emotional development, such as better self-control and fewer behavior problems.

These early social-emotional skills are critical for later success, including avoiding involvement with the criminal justice system.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Chief Mike Field, Bath

In 2015, The American Journal of Public Health published the results of a 20-year study showing a link between children’s social skills in kindergarten and their well-being in early adulthood. For every one-point decrease in a child’s social competence score in kindergarten, he/she had:

  • 64% higher chance of having spent time in juvenile detention;
  • 67% higher chance of having been arrested by early adulthood;
  • 52% higher rate of recent binge drinking and 82% higher rate of marijuana usage; and
  • 82% higher chance of being in or on a waiting list for public housing.

We know that high-quality early learning programs are great for all kids and also a great crime reduction strategy.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Chief Mike Field, Bath

It makes sense that Maine invest resources to begin to address children’s challenging behaviors as early as possible. Unfortunately, Maine’s current rate of expelling children from early learning programs is the second highest in the country, per capita. However, expelling a child doesn’t address or help correct the problems – it just shifts them to another setting. To law enforcement, this voluntary program is worthy of the state’s investment.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Chief Mike Field

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Mike Field

Chief of Police, Bath (ME)

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