New Mexico child welfare agency seeks more funding as lawmakers convene

The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), which oversees child protective services, asked the state Legislature for a $41.5 million increase to its budget for 2023. CYFD requested $254,948,200 for its general fund, which makes up about 70 percent of its overall budget. It was given $213,423,200 for 2022. 

New Mexico education officials miss transparency deadline

An initiative aimed at providing greater accountability for public spending on education missed its inaugural deadline. The New Mexico Public Education Department acknowledged Tuesday that it missed a year-end deadline to launch a website to provide details about how much schools spend and on what. When the site went live following inquiries from The Associated Press, it did not include financial information from most individual schools. Lawmakers and transparency advocates decried the delay, which ran afoul of state statute.

Photo essay: Former foster youth navigate motherhood

Youth who age out of the foster care system face myriad challenges associated with family instability and poverty. They often lack basic life skills or the support network needed to transition to adulthood.

Overdue education plan frustrates New Mexico native leaders

New Mexico's plan to address the needs of underserved Indigenous students hasn't been shared with tribal leaders or the public despite promises made by state officials that they would do so last year.

Rural New Mexico school buys Starlink internet for students

A school district in northwestern New Mexico is providing high-speed internet to students' families, most of whom are Indigenous, in a $1.2 million deal that leapfrogs piecemeal efforts by state and tribal officials. Cuba Independent Schools superintendent Karen Sanchez-Griego said staff began installing Starlink's $500 receivers at students' homes in November and hope to connect all 450 families by the end of the school year.

New Mexico court reiterates need for sentencing reform in granting parole to juvenile lifer 

Michael Brown, who was expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars, had been serving one of the state’s longest sentences for a crime committed as a child due to his involvement in the 1994 murders of his grandparents. He will be eligible for parole in February 2024 following a New Mexico district court decision. 

New head of New Mexico child welfare department pledges to ‘listen and learn’ in face of challenges

When former New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil retired from the bench in June, she didn’t know what was next, but one thing was certain: She wanted to pivot from presiding over cases of vulnerable communities to actively advocating for them. 

Slow internet limits opportunities for rural New Mexico youth

New Mexico consistently ranks toward the bottom among states for internet access, and nearly 25 percent of students lack access. Columbus, New Mexico, is located in Luna County, an area about as large as Delaware and Rhode Island combined that is home to about 25,000 people scattered between Columbus, the town of Deming and miles of rugged desert. 
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