Augusta police chief: Excessive-quality little one care makes a distinction

Like your May 27 editorial, I support LD 1712, a bill to expand quality childcare in Maine (“Our View: Maine Should Invest In Early Childhood Programs”).

My reason for supporting this proposal may be unexpected. But I know from my law enforcement and research career that the high quality early childhood education that happens every day in childcare facilities helps us protect our communities and reduce later crime.

A study by the Chicago Child-Parent Centers reflects these facts. These centers offered preschoolers from some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods school maturity programs, some of which were followed for over 30 years. The study looked at the results for this subgroup of children compared to a peer group that was not enrolled in the centers. The study found that children who did not receive quality early intervention programs were 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by the age of 18% less likely to have served a prison term.

In addition, high-quality early intervention programs save money. A prestigious, independent cost-benefit analysis of nearly 20 different studies showed that Pre-K can, on average, bring back a “profit” (economic benefit minus costs) of nearly $ 27,000 for each child cared for.

I believe that LD 1712 will establish high quality childcare programs in more Maine communities and that these programs will contribute to similar outcomes. I encourage all legislators to support them in the final weeks of this legislature.

Chief Jared Mills

Augustaa Police

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