Abused or neglected children are far more likely to become criminals as adults, says a study issued by an organization of police chiefs, prosecutors and crime victims. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids says the report supports the idea of more money for pre-kindergarten programs and parenting classes, on the ground that the cost will be offset when children who might have been burdens on society grow up to be upstanding citizens, the Associated Press reports.
Researchers said that only about one third of child abuse and neglect is reported. The group cited a study that found individuals who had been abused or neglected as youngsters were 29 percent more likely to become violent criminals than are other children. Some of the problem could be dealt with through $2.8 billion earmarked for states under the 1996 federal welfare overhaul, but congressional Republicans cut funding to $1.7 billion in the current budget year.