YOUR OPINION: Investing in children key to success in many areas – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Investing in children key to success in many areas

I want to commend the Daily Journal for bringing attention to the importance in investing in services and programs for children.

First there was the editorial on June 14 as a follow-up to Michaela Morris’s article about the recent Kids Count report that offered the opinion, “Investing in those areas now could mean even more significant improvements for Mississippi moving forward, possibly even to the point of breaking out from the lower ranks of national trends in which we often find ourselves placed.”

Then on June 15 there were two articles on the opinion page that each addressed a different aspect of providing our children with what they need to be the best they can be.

Dr. Cathy Grace eloquently made the case for the importance of not reducing health insurance options for our children. She emphasized that this should be a bi-partisan issue since uninsured children will affect our economy both in the short-term and in the long term with higher unpaid hospital costs, and less productive, possibly dependent citizens in the future.

And Melinda Kellum Lamon provided a first-person view of how devastating the inadequacy of our state’s mental health services for children are.

As a career social worker and child therapist, I have advocated for children my entire adult life and I have seen firsthand the emotional and social costs of not providing adequate services to our children.

Failing our children results in perpetuating and ongoing cycle of abuse, violence, drug dependency, poverty, illiteracy and crime.

So, we can invest in our children and give them the best opportunity to be successful, productive human beings and citizens, or we can pay the price later with increased prison costs, social and financial dependency, higher levels of mental illness, and more children in our foster care system.

I think investing in our children, both in Mississippi and nationally, is the logical and moral option to choose. This means choosing to invest in healthcare, education and mental health services for children and for their parents.

Please encourage our elected officials to make the same choice.

Leah Headings