Investing in voluntary home visiting is key to making youth in America “citizen-ready” — that’s the conclusion of the Council for a Strong America, a group of law enforcement, retired military, businessmen, athletes and clergy.
The recommendation comes in response to the 2016 Citizen-Readiness Index, recently released by the Council. The index measures citizen-readiness along three indicators:
- Workforce preparation
- Youth crime
- Qualification for military service
Home visiting, one of three strategies proposed by the Council to improve “citizen-readiness,” helps build strong families, improving the workforce productivity of young adult and reducing their involvement in crime.
The assessment highlights the role of the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood (MIECHV) program in “reaching at-risk parents (often single, teen moms) during a critical time for behavior change.”
“The MIECHV program packs a big punch: In communities around the nation, evidence-based home-visiting programs are increasing the number of young adults who find jobs and steer clear of crime.”
The report underscores the impact of early trauma on long-term health, academic success and productivity of young children and potential mitigating effects of home-based education and support for families.
In addition to supporting home visiting, the report recommends investment in high quality early education programs, such as Head Start, and strengthening school health programs through improved nutrition standards and physical education programs.
The Council for a Strong America is a national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote solutions that ensure the next generation of Americans will be citizen-ready.