We’ve long known the childhood factors that lead to poor adult outcomes, such as crime, but we’ve never seen the picture painted so starkly as a recipe for incarceration as in Tony Rizzo’s “Murder Factory” series (1/25-27, A-1).
This is a wake-up call for our community. As much as we may want to fix the immediate problem, we need to look at the broader issue of preventing violent crimes in years to come.
Some states plan the number of future prison cells based on reading scores of third-graders. It follows that we must begin by supporting Kansas City’s youngest children.
As a leader in early childhood education and mental health, The Family Conservancy knows that issues like domestic violence and poverty dramatically increase the likelihood that a child will act out or become withdrawn and will not focus well in school.
The true solution involves a partnership with the entire community: the government, the faith community, schools, neighborhoods and human service organizations. We need to rally around and invest in at-risk children, so that they can grow into good employees, neighbors and citizens.
Betsy Vander Velde
President and CEO, The Family Conservancy
Kansas City, Kan.
Newhouse is a domestic violence shelter with the 64130 ZIP code within its service area. In 2008, Newhouse sheltered 775 women and children feeling domestic violence.
As the “Murder Factory” series reveals, violence is a learned behavior and an intergenerational problem.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children reports that domestic violence is one of the significant contributors to violent behavior in children. Children are present in at least 50 percent of homes where police intervene in domestic violence incidents. Boys who grow up observing domestic violence are more likely to become batterers as adults — 90 percent of all juvenile offenders were either victims of child abuse or observed spousal abuse.
By intervening in the intergenerational cycle of abuse, Newhouse is helping create a positive and healthy community in Kansas City’s schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and streets — as well as in our homes.
The Newhouse mission is to teach women to be self-sufficient and productive members of society. Once women complete the Newhouse domestic violence education program, they are better equipped to be citizens in their neighborhoods and a part of the greater Kansas City community.
Vice president of development, Newhouse