New deal for families is tough on crime

Paul Kershaw, Vancouver Sun

…. If we really mean to be tough on crime, why don’t we work hard at preventing it?…

We know a lot about crime prevention in Canada. It has a lot to do with the socio-economic squeeze on the generation raising young kids, as the Vancouver Board of Trade tells us. In its 2010 Kids N Crime report, the Board of Trade concluded that “diverting children and youth from a life of crime achieves outstanding positive results in terms of both social and economic dimensions, including costs borne by governments.” “Timing … is critical,” however, because “efforts to influence development are far more effective in early life than in later years.”…

Research from the University of B.C.’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) confirms this point. My colleagues and I have a unique opportunity to learn from kindergarten teachers in all school districts across the province what it means for a generation raising young kids to be squeezed for time at home, squeezed for income after the cost of housing, and squeezed for services like child care. …

New Mom and Dad benefits would increase the after-tax income of couples that split a year at home with their newborn by $15,000. Thereafter we could support more parental time at home without a major hit on income through a combination of Flex-Time and $10/day child care services.

The $10/day child care is a key way for the community to play a role in crime prevention. Such services provide early care and learning opportunities that supplement, but never replace, what parents do at home. Many analyses show one of the biggest paybacks for quality child care is through crime reduction…..

Within eight years of reducing the vulnerability of Gen Squeeze’s kindergarten kids from 30 per cent to 10 per cent, a New Deal for Families will save Canadians $10 billion in crime costs.

By the 14th year, we will be saving $10 billion annually, and the savings keep growing from there.

Are Canadians weak on crime? Yes, so long as we have weak family policy.