We applaud King County Sheriff John Urquhart’s guest column “How visits to families with young children helps law enforcement” [Opinion, March 21]. As stated, home-visiting programs enhance public safety and save taxpayer dollars.
Losing federal funding — nearly $9 million — would be an incredible loss to families in our state. Not only do we support Urquhart’s stance on preserving funding, we also believe home visiting needs to be expanded to more families who are involved in the child welfare system.
Our state has made progress in the last few years. For example, ESHB 2519 links the new approach to child protective services, Family Assessment Response (FAR) with home visiting and other quality early learning programs. Bringing systems together on behalf of vulnerable children and families makes good sense, particularly when the potential for improving outcomes is so great.
Continuing the federal home-visiting program funding and the recent passage of ESHB 2519 are two significant ways that our state is reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect, while also increasing the likelihood of school and life success. But there is still work to be done until all families who are eligible for these programs can experience their immense benefits.
Benjamin de Haan, executive director at Partners for Our Children, Seattle