The best time to catch criminals may be while they’re still in diapers. That, according to the Portland Press Herald, is the advice from a panel of Maine child welfare and criminal justice officials, who released a report showing that abused or neglected children are more likely to become criminals or abuse their own children. The report, by the Maine chapter of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, says that helping first-time mothers raise their infants can reduce the likelihood of abuse. It calls on the state and federal governments to increase funding to
agencies that coach new parents.
“We are creating new criminals and new victims every single day by allowing abuse and neglect to continue,” said Attorney General Steven Rowe. There were 3,746 documented cases of child abuse and neglect in Maine in 2002, with three children dying from it, according to the report. Unreported
cases of child abuse may push the total to 10,000, it said. The report draws on past studies done in other parts of the country and
applies information developed in those studies to the problem in Maine.