In the front, from left, are State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood; State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago; Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds; State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles; and State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond. Photo provided.

State’s attorney calls for state funding

Programs for children that prevent crime

Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds joined prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs from throughout Illinois last week to meet with leaders in Springfield about the impact of the ongoing state budget impasse on programs for children that prevent crime.   

“We know investing in our youth not only leads to better social outcomes, it saves taxpayers money,” Edmonds said in a news release. 

“We see kids that are abused and neglected: those kids often end up behind in school and end up in juvenile delinquency and ultimately end up in criminal court. 

“That is costing taxpayers in our communities tremendously. We really know that in the short term and in the long term, this is a very good investment in taxpayer dollars and also leads to much safer and healthier communities throughout the state.”

The group met with Gov. Bruce Rauner and three legislative leaders last week: House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno. 

The group also met with several other legislators who play a key role setting the state budget.

The law enforcement leaders represented over 300 law enforcement leaders who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, an anti-crime organization that advocates for evidence-based investments in programs for kids that are proven to cut crime and violence.

The officials noted that a lack of a state budget has forced dozens of non-profit agencies across Illinois to cut back significantly on staffing and important services, and many have already gone out of business.  

Included are many programs for kids and youth: programs that law enforcement leaders consider key to protecting public safety: 

•Redeploy Illinois, which provides cheaper and more effective alternatives to prison for juvenile offenders and significantly reduces recidivism. The steady decline in the state’s juvenile prison population is in jeopardy, as 24 counties have been forced to drop out of Redeploy.  

•Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services, which provides crisis-intervention and family-reunification help for about 7,000 youths, including runaways, kids deemed beyond parents’ control, and those in immediate physical danger. During the budget impasse, more than half of these programs have cut staff and/or access to services. Law enforcement depends on these agencies as safe places to refer unaccompanied at-risk youth.  

•Teen REACH after-school programs represent safe and educational alternatives to the streets. Without a full-year budget 15,000 at-risk youth will lose access to safe spaces during the “prime time for juvenile crime.”  

•“Parent-coaching” programs, which offer help for the new parents of at-risk infants and toddlers, reducing child abuse and neglect, among other positive results. These home-visting programs are shutting down statewide, risking the loss of $40 million in federal funding for services helping 6,000 families statewide.

Edmonds and other Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois members also voiced support for legislation pending in Springfield which would reduce the expulsion of at-risk kids from pre-school.  

The legislation, HB 2663, would create uniform statewide standards regarding pre-school expulsion and ensure that educators have the resources and information to help all kids thrive in early learning classrooms.  

Edmonds serves as co-chairperson of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, the state office of a national, non-profit, bipartisan, anti-crime organization of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, leaders of law enforcement organizations and victims of crime. The program has more than 300 members in Illinois.

In the accompanying photo, Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds, center, at podium, joined law enforcement leaders and legislators at a press conference in Springfield April 24, to support passage of HB 2663, a bill aimed at reducing the expulsion of kids from pre-school programs.

The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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