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Public Support for Early Intervention: Is Child Saving a "Habit of the Heart"?

NCJ Number
Victims and Offenders Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2007 Pages: 109-124
Francis T. Cullen; Brenda A. Vose; Cheryl N. Lero Jonson; James D. Unnever
Date Published
April 2007
16 pages
This article discusses strong public support for early intervention programs for at-risk children and youth.
Despite portrayals of Americans as exceptionally punitive and as favoring "get tough" solutions to offending, a wealth of survey research shows that the public also supports a social welfare, rehabilitative approach to crime control. Opinion polls reveal that citizens are particularly supportive of efforts to intervene with at-risk children and youthsso much so that belief in child saving can be considered an American "habit of the heart." It is clear that public opinion is not a barrier to early intervention programs. In fact, such public support, combined with increasing evidence of the behavioral and cost effectiveness of treatment programs, might soon coalesce to create a "tipping point" in which early intervention becomes a viable policy agenda on the national level. (Published Abstract)