America’s Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy

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This report synthesizes five new studies of varying size and focus, all showing a strong correlation between quality educational child care and reduced likelihood of criminal activity or school misbehavior. Fight Crime is a seven-year-old a nonprofit, headed by Sanford Newman, that taps uniformed police chiefs to deliver its message supporting positive youth development.

The report summarizes recent studies of four child care programs: High/Scope Preschool Program, where 60 kids in the program and 60 kids in a control group are revisited at age 27, and their arrest rates compared; Syracuse University Family Development Program, where crime rates are compared for 65 participants and 54 control group kids; North Carolina's Smart Start Program, where behavioral problems in kindergarten are measured for program participants and nonparticipants; and Chicago's Child-Parent Centers, where 989 at-risk children enrolled in 20 centers are compared at age 18 to 550 demographically similar kids who received all-day kindergarten but no preschool or parent coaching services.

Each study concluded that quality child care program participants were far less likely than nonparticipants to engage in misbehavior or to commit crimes when they got older. The report was released at the White House by First Lady Hilary Clinton, who used it to call on Congress to fund the administration's child care budget for working families. 25 pages. $12 for hard copy. Free online. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2000 P St., NW, Ste. 240, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 776-0027. E-mail:

- Amy Bracken