Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children

Mar 01, 2011

As the fiscal crisis continues in most states, governors and legislatures are considering budget cuts to early childhood programs. But research from the Pew Center on the States shows that spending less today on evidence-based children’s policies means taxpayers will face much higher costs later for problems including child abuse and neglect, high school dropouts, crime, teen pregnancy and drug and alcohol abuse.

The price society pays for one person who suffers child abuse, drops out of high school or misuses alcohol ranges from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars over that individual’s lifetime. All of these expensive social ills can be significantly diminished when states invest resources in proven policies including voluntary, high-quality home visiting and pre-kindergarten programs.

This study, produced by the Partnership for America's Economic Success, helps policy makers and the public fully evaluate the consequences of today’s funding decisions and highlights several effective, evidence-based policies that generate savings for taxpayers.

Media Inquiries

If you are with the media and would like additional information, please contact Margie M. Newman, project manager, communications, The Pew Center on the States, 202.552.2230.

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