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Preventing crime with quality child care: A critical investment in Minnesota's safety

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Fight Crime
Publication Date: 
15 Oct 2003

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.


A law enforcement organization released a report today showing that quality child care cuts crime, and called on Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) to back an increase in federal child care investments. That’s especially important for Minnesota, where, according to the report, only one in seventeen eligible children is currently served by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the federal government’s primary source of child care assistance for working families.

The report shows:

1) Educational child care and after-school programs cut crime and save money

- At-risk three- and four-year-olds randomly excluded from the Perry Preschool educational child care program in Michigan were five times more likely to become chronic offenders by age 27 than similar children who attended the program.

- At-risk children who did not receive quality educational child care in Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers were 70 percent more likely to commit violent crimes by the age of 18 than similar children who attended the program.

- In housing projects without Boys & Girls Clubs for children and adolescents, incidents of vandalism were 50 percent higher and ratings of drug activity were 37 percent higher than in housing projects with clubs.

2) Low-income families need, but cannot afford, child care.

- Sixty-nine percent of children under age six in Minnesota have both parents, or their only parent, in the workforce.

- The average fee at a licensed child care center in Minnesota is $5,171 a year for a child under the age of six­­more than the average cost of public university tuition. Services for two children can exceed the annual salary of a full-time, minimum-wage earner.

- Nationwide, 79 percent of mothers with children between the ages of six and 13 are in the labor force.

- Many parents cannot afford to pay for after-school care at a licensed center since the average cost of care is $4,392 annually in Minnesota.

3) Quality child care saves more money than it costs, but the federal child care subsidy program remains severely under funded.

- Educational child care programs save more than $7 (including more than $6 in crime savings) for every $1 invested.

- The federal government’s child care subsidy program is so under funded that it can serve only one in seventeen eligible children in Minnesota.