Livingston County Prosecutors and law enforcement leaders want the state to boost early childhood block grant funding funding by $50 million. Sheriff Tony Childress said that will allow the state to capture more federal funds for preschool.
Childress was with the States's Attorney and another Sheriff reading books to three and four year olds at a Pontiac grade school.
If we instill these attributes into children at a very early age then we hope to get results later in life," said Childress.
The Fight Crime: Invest In Kids coalition said state budget cuts originally eliminated preschool services for more than 20,000 children.
“Today's four-year-olds are the future of our communities,” added Livingston County State’s Attorney Randy Yedinak.
Lawmakers and the Governor restored some funding. But, 1,200 poor children in Livingston, Ford, Iroquis and Woodford Counties remain without access to preschool.
“If we're serious about solving the crime problem, we've got to be serious about giving kids the skills they need to
grow up to be productive, law-abiding adults, starting with quality preschool," said Yedinak.
The coalition indicates studies in the state of Michigan show kids who don't get preschool are 85 percent more likely by age 40 to have been sentenced to jail or prison than peers who had preschool.
"It's very advantageous to get to children in the preschool age years. We know that if we can start with children at a very early age, things are a lot more likely to stick," said Sheriff Childress.
A study of Chicago’s publicly funded Child-Parent Centers found that kids left-out of that preschool program were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested by age 28 than those who had participated.