PEORIA - Some of the area’s biggest names in law enforcement came together today to stress the importance of funding early childhood development.
With crime fighters from across the state- they released a report that argues providing quality education to young children prevents them from later dropping out of high school- and eventually ending up in prison.
“When a child is a successful learner then their behaviors become successful as well,” Cathy Gibler, Director at Rogy’s Learning Place
More than 230 preschoolers play and learn at Rogy’s Learning Place in Peoria. About seventy-five percent of the center’s budgets is state funded.
The state’s budget that’s been slashed by eighty million dollars over the past five years.
“Creative curriculum is not cheap. You have to buy the assessment tool tools to go with it,” says Gibler.
Crime fighters are joining from across the state to take a stand, because the believe children who are not properly taught today become the criminals of tomorrow.
“We believe that if we can reach three out of every four disadvantaged three to four year olds with quality preschool, we can reduce the number of people incarcerated in Illinois by 48-hundred people every year,” said Sheriff Michael McCoy
Officials hope that the state’s investments in early childhood development will increase to $325 million dollars in the next fiscal year, so that new and better programs can start.
“A quality program is working with families. It's encouraging that reading at home. It's having parent nights. It's really engaging parents as well as kids,” said Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois State Director Tim Carpenter.
But in an already economically unstable state, coming up with the extra funding could be tough.
“Obviously they are weighing a whole lot of decisions when they are deciding to spend their budget and make priorities. But there is a pretty wide consensus that this can work.”
If lawmakers approve the funding, it will kick in on July 1st.