I am a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. As the name of the group implies, investing in children is a great way to prevent future crime. Research shows that children who have a strong start in life tend to perform better academically. They are more likely to graduate from high school, continue their education, be employed as adults, and stay out of trouble along the way. This is especially true for kids who are considered at-risk. It is why many in law enforcement support investments in early education and child care for Maine kids.

A recent Council for a Strong America report indicates the lack of child care in Maine’s rural areas is a concern. The report highlights that 23% of children in rural Maine live in poverty, and 26% of Maine’s rural kids live in “child care deserts,” where young children outnumber licensed child care slots 3 to 1 or more.

Maine is the most rural state in the U.S. and improving access to the resources rural kids need is a challenge we must address.

To echo the report’s recommendations — and with sincere appreciation for the support this paper expressed in a recent editorial (“Our View: Lack of child care holding back children, parents – and the economy,” Jan. 29) — I strongly encourage greater investments to increase access to and the quality of child care and other early education programs for kids in rural Maine. These critical investments will help reduce crime, improve public safety, and result in stronger Maine communities and brighter futures for all Maine kids.

David Bucknam

Skowhegan chief of police

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