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Saturday, 29 April, 2000, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Child care 'cuts crime risk'
Nursery
The research was presented to the White House
Children who receive good quality childcare in their early years are less likely to commit crimes in adult life, says research in the United States.

Studies in North Carolina and Chicago found children who had been well looked after in their early years were half as likely to be arrested when they become adults than those who do not receive care.

And the studies also found that adults who become "chronic offenders", who are arrested a large number of times, were five times as likely to not have received early years education.

The research was presented at the White House, where the head of an anti-crime organisation identified the findings as evidence that were practical steps that could be taken to reduce crime.

'Lifesaver'

"We're tired of hearing people pretend there are no answers to how we can prevent youth violence,'' said Sanford Newman, president of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

In response, First Lady Hillary Clinton said that the research proved the importance of early years' education provision.

"Child care is not only a lifesaver for working families, it is a crime-fighting strategy for our communities. For every dollar we invest in child care we save $5 in crime costs down the line," she said.

But Mrs Clinton was told that if more child care places are to be made available, particularly in deprived areas, there would need to be more support for training child carers and an improvement in their salaries.

Mr Newman also commended efforts to encourage increased child care through tax breaks and other incentive schemes.

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See also:

18 Feb 00 | Education
Early years centres 'save money'
26 Mar 00 | Education
Truancy link to youth crime
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