We must invest in our community’s most vulnerable – our children!

The Dallas Morning News published an article this week on the federal funding, which has allowed for the expansion of home mentoring programs nationwide. At this time, the funding made available in 2011 has not been reauthorized at the federal level. Yet, the loss of such evidence-based programs would have a devastating impact on our community. On average, six children are born to teenage parents each day in the city of Dallas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young parental age is among the top risk factors for engaging in child abuse. Home mentoring programs, such as those referenced in the article are demonstrated effective at preventing such abuse, as well as saving tax payers the average lifetime cost of abuse for each child of $210,012.

Young women, like Ana in Dallas, who was raised by substance abusing parents and left home alone for days at only ten years of age, are learning how to parent in a different way through Family Compass’ Healthy Families program funded in part by the aforementioned federal funding. Upon entering the program Ana shared, “If my parents could not take care of me in their twenties, how will I be able to care of my baby at 14?” With the support of Family Compass, Ana is learning to raise her child in a loving, nurturing environment where her daughter is sheltered from abuse. We absolutely must advocate for continued investment in our community’s most valuable resource — our children.