NM Pushes Bill to Track Child Welfare

New Mexico has a bad habit of taking children from families and then placing them with dangerous foster parents. We, Robert and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, are happy to hear a plan has finally been proposed to hold their child protection agencies accountable.

Why is New Mexico such a hard place to be a child? There are many reasons children are failed in this state, including parents who are in prison, an opioid epidemic, a weak education system, and crippling poverty levels. When the problem is so deeply rooted in multigenerational poverty, how can a corrupt system with no checks and balances in place possibly address it? The simple answer is it can’t, and that’s why a bill has been introduced to track funding and prove results.

Sobering New Mexico Facts

New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, but for children it can be anything but. Here are some of the reasons this state is named one of the worst for children.

  • Nearly a third of NM children live in poverty, compared to 22% nationally.
  • 16% of NM children live in communities that are riddled with crime.
  • 12% of NM babies are born to teen moms, compared to 7% nationally.
  • Over 60% of NM babies are born to mothers who received no prenatal care at all during the first trimester of their pregnancy.
  • Child injury deaths are 50% higher in NM than the rest of the nation.
  • Nearly twice the number of children die after being intentionally injured than the national rate, an appalling 7.1 per 100,000.
  • Nearly 2% of children who die in NM are victims of abuse, compared to 1% nationally.

The chips are stacked against the children of New Mexico from day one, and the woefully inadequate child protection services system has exponentially worsened the situation. On any given day, there are 2,500 children in the state’s system. A combination of tight budgets and high caseloads has led to an increase in the use of privately-owned child welfare agencies. These for-profit agencies have come under intense scrutiny after a slew of high-profile cases like that of the 11-month-old baby who died in foster care and  the tragic murder of little Alexandria Hill.

The Child and Family Databank Act will identify the residents who are most in need of services, and after they receive those services, it will track whether or not they were effective. It will also make it possible for agencies to share data that will determine where resources should be directed, which is critical when there aren’t enough resources to go around.

Will the State of New Mexico care enough about its children to pass this bill? This still remains to be seen. New Mexico parents, it’s time to demand accountability.

New Mexico families are suing CYFD

The New Mexico foster care system is seriously overcrowded