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Bill Smith

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Reduce violence with cost effective investments

Society has many problems, including many forms of violence. One indicator of this is high prison rates. Another indicator is violence in schools. It is true that resources to remedy these problems are finite.

Major media would have us believe there are only two approaches, a) general redistribution, or b) punishment. Much could be said about those two approaches, but what is neglected is that specific solutions have been found that yield huge general gains for society, the venues for this being family life and the early childhood years. Providing specific supports in those venues goes to the root of many problems, and the leverage enacted has the effect of a very large crowbar. The individuals and families that receive the support are directly benefited, where the benefits can be improved health, improved educational outcomes, and reduced violence.

No less important, but not surprising, is that society is also hugely benefited. In fact, research has found areas in which benefits are greater than costs, meaning the long term government investments leads to lower governments costs down the road. Examples of some programs that have been reported to have this characteristic include addiction prevention, home visitation, parenting classes, and some types of early childhood education.

Major institutions underestimate the importance of these approaches, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Whether the early years of life are nurturing, healthy, communicative on the one hand, or neglectful, unsafe, and cold, on the other, has obvious implications for a child's later life outcomes, both intellectual and behavioral, including social bonds in both work and in regular life.

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    May 9 2012: Your idea is the right approach with most benefits allover and into the future.
    The return multiply in the future as you calculate children and grandchildren to have a better start to participate society instead of fighting it.
    It isn't a new idea but it will take a change of view that people don't make that easy. We have to change from reactive to proactive and include all those people that are closed out of our society for whatever reasons.
    Maybe a good presentation of the workability of such approach with example will help to accept this view.
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    R H 30+

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    May 6 2012: From what I gather from your idea is you favor intervention into families to support the efforts of raising young children. Is this support voluntary or is it required by some gov't agency? If voluntary, what if the parents don't recognize, or don't request help for, the issue? What type of 'specific supports' are you refering to? If not voluntary, who decides on the 'supports' needed or necessary? How would these 'supports' reduce violence in later life? I think I see what you're gettin at, but I'm not sure. Thanks.