We can fight crime with early education funding
One of our goals at the Kane County State's Attorney's Office is to determine the root causes of crime, and to support efforts to address those causes. It is in that regard that I read with interest your article on the just-announced recommendations of the bipartisan Illinois Early Childhood Funding Commission.
Quality programs for children in their first years, when research shows that their brains are forming more than 1 million new brain connections every second, can help lead to adulthoods free of drug addiction and other negative behaviors associated with crime. The commission's call to boost funding and access to those programs over time will help create healthier, safer communities.
The fact that the commission is stressing equitable access to programs is also an important step for justice. Where there are gaps in opportunity for kids, we can and should address them. A family's ZIP code should not determine the quality or quantity of services for early care and education.
Our state legislature has an opportunity to address those concerns by increasing the block grant for preschool in the FY22 budget. This would be a down payment on the commission's recommendations, and could create cost savings in the long-term. The research showing those financial benefits can be found in a recent report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids at bit.ly/PreKFightsCrime.
As a prosecutor, it is my job to keep our residents from harm. When the safest thing for our community is to send someone to prison, we will do that.
But until then, everyone deserves the opportunity for a better path. That opportunity can start at birth, and funding boosts for early education and care -- both this year and over time -- can help create those paths for individuals, and a route to a more flourishing Illinois.
Kane County State's Attorney