Chief calls for renewal of home visit program designed to prevent youth crime

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – A federally-funded program designed to help at-risk youth avoid crime later in life is out of money, and Salt Lake City’s police chief is calling for Congress to act. 

Chief Mike Brown tweeted his support for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) Monday. The program consists of volunteers who visit the homes of families who are more at risk for child abuse, neglect and other problems and helps provide tools for children and parents to thrive. Volunteers read to children, play games and engage them in other educational activities. The goal of the program is to provide children and families with positive community role models who can steer children away from criminal activity. 

A study by MIECHV showed 9,600 children in Utah are victims of abuse and neglect each year. Those children, according to the study, are twice as likely to commit crime by age 19. 

Chief Brown said in a tweet: “#Homevisiting is meant to help the most at-risk families, including parents dealing with substance abuse. Children whose parents struggle with addiction may be subject to toxic stress, which impacts their brain and emotional development. Helping parents helps their children, too.”

Congress is currently debating two bills that would provide federal funding for the home visiting program over the next four years. 

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