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Voluntary home visiting to help at-risk children

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Today law enforcement leaders and lawmakers are hosting a community roundtable to talk about what could be done to help at-risk children avoid getting wrapped up in the criminal justice system.

A recent report called Preventing Crime Through Voluntary Home Visiting, will be at the center of today’s discussion. Law enforcement leaders and lawmakers will discuss how voluntary home visiting and parent coaching programs help reduce rates of child abuse and neglect, increase parenting effectiveness, help children whose parents suffer from substance abuse disorder and boost young children's school readiness. Supporters of the home visiting programs say this can help prevent crime, increase public safety and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.

“Evidence based voluntary programs send trained professionals into the home of our most at risk families, provides parenting support, provides connection to resources and really helps at risk families see a vision and mills plan for their family,” Bruce Clash, the State Director of Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, says. “Law enforcement leaders know we can’t just arrest and imprison our way out of the crime problem. We need to be smart on crime and that involves investing in those evidence-based programs that address the root causes of crime in the first place.”

Governor Wolf’s proposed 2019-2020 budget, released earlier this week, sets aside an extra $5 million for home visiting services. Clash says it's enough to assist about 800 at-risk families.

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