When we can give children the opportunity to lead better lives, we should seize it. We have that chance in this year’s general election by voting to support King County Proposition No. 1, the Best Starts for Kids levy.
We hear a lot about reducing crime. Proposition 1 will do just that. When we invest in kids early, they are much less likely to end up in jail or prison later in life. I know from experience—and from research—that investments in programs that put our kids on the right track are some of the most powerful crime reduction tools at our disposal.
Proposition 1, which would cost the average homeowner in King County just over $1 per week, will make a big difference in children’s lives and in our community. Half of the proceeds raised each year will be devoted to proven programs for children up to age five – the years in which research tells us the brain lays the foundation for later health, behavior and learning.
Another 35 percent of funds raised will go toward help and intervention for young people during their school age years. The experiences young people are exposed to during these years and their ability to succeed in school and make smart life choices can have a profound impact on the ultimate direction of their lives.
Today, children who are disadvantaged by poverty and other circumstances are far more likely to miss out on the early education, mentoring and support that many young people need to overcome difficult life circumstances. Our communities will be far stronger if kids from all backgrounds have the support they need to grow up to become not only productive members of society, but the leaders of tomorrow as well.
Proposition 1 will fund that support and enable the screening, assistance and intervention programs that give young people the help they need – and decrease the mental health and addiction problems that challenge them down the road. By the time kids get to the criminal justice system, a lot of damage has been done, and reversing course is costly and much less effective.
The Best Starts for Kids Levy can and will give thousands of children now and in the future a better opportunity to grow up healthy, succeed in school and lead a quality life.
The kids of today and tomorrow are indeed our hope for a brighter future, and they deserve the best opportunity to succeed.
King County Sheriff