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Submitted by Chris Phillips on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 9:01pm.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Hundreds of advocates for North Carolina children say they came to Raleigh to encourage General Assembly members to invest in education and health care and reduce the number of people tried as adults for low-level crimes. Doctors, child care operators, parents and law enforcement officials visited legislators on Wednesday and tried to highlight the importance of funding programs that help children. They came following several years of spending cuts under both Democratic and Republican leadership at the legislature. Henderson Police Chief Keith Sidwell says a commitment to early childhood initiatives like Smart Start will route at-risk youngsters away from crime as adults. Another group held a news conference urging lawmakers to pass a House bill that would bring 16- and 17-year-olds accused of misdemeanors under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts. (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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