Early Investments Prevent Violence

Early Investments Prevent Violence

The following letter to the editor was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on 7/26/2018.

The League of Women Voters of Dane County commends the State Journal for its series "Gun violence in Madison | Cycles of trauma."

We appreciate the focus on childhood trauma, which often leads to violence later in life. Our organization notes that research conducted in recent decades on two programs show that the interventions significantly improved the lives of poor children, including reductions in juvenile and adult violence. The research compares participants randomly assigned to intervention and control groups.

Home visiting programs supporting young, isolated and poor pregnant moms and new parents have been shown to return at least $1.75, and up to $5.70, for every dollar spent, due to reduced costs of child protection services, special education and criminal justice. High-quality early childhood programs increase high school graduation rates and financial earnings and to reduce violent crime. Between $7 and $14 are saved for every dollar invested, depending on the study. 

We are encouraged that Dane County, the city of Madison, local school districts and the United Way are focused on preventing gun violence. Further investments in home visiting and early childhood programs would be important strategies.

Aileen Nettleton, Madison, president, League of Women Voters of Dane County 

Photo credit: STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL

Laiba Mammond, 7, joins her neighbors for a peace walk to the Warner Park Community Center on Madison's North Side in May. The event was in response to a number of violent crimes involving guns in the area.