Editorial: Addressing youth crime through preventive mentoring

MADISON, Wis. — Last week’s announcement of an expansion of a program to keep kids out of the criminal justice system by Dane County, the United Way and community partners touches so many elements of our editorial agenda for the year we decided to run it under the agenda umbrella of shared concerns.

Safety, school and equal opportunity issues are all addressed in the Opportunity Youth Cross Sector Coalition, which assigns adult mentors to juveniles in the justice system or at risk of involvement.

The program is expanding because it is working. It’s a comprehensive partnership including the school district, the city, Madison Police and the UW. But from our perspective the promise is that effective adult mentoring gives kids a chance, identifies available resources, and provides opportunities that will result in greater school success, achievement and a safer community.

It’s rare when one program addresses so many shared concerns. This one does. We applaud the expansion.