New Mexico lawmakers passed a bill that strengthens protections for Native American children in state care. The New Mexico Indian Family Protection Act enshrines in state law key provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which gives preference to Native families and communities when it comes to fostering or adopting Indigenous children.
Child welfare professionals in New Mexico are applauding passage of a bill they say will improve legal representation for youth and families impacted by foster care. Advocates say that the creation of an independent Office of Family Representation and Advocacy will help families connect to higher quality — and better paid — legal aid.
Proposed reforms to New Mexico’s juvenile sentencing rules failed to become law for a second year in a row after the bill’s sponsors pulled it, saying the legislation had been amended “beyond recognition.”
Dozens of National Guard Army and Air Force troops in New Mexico have been stepping in for an emergency unlike others they have responded to before: the shortage of teachers and school staff members that has tested the ability of schools nationwide to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic.
A proposal to overhaul New Mexico's social studies standards has stirred debate over how race should be taught in schools, with thousands of parents and teachers weighing in on changes that would dramatically increase instruction related to racial and social identity beginning in kindergarten.
At least three states have called on public employees or National Guard troops to fill in as substitute teachers, bus drivers and other school and childcare workers in response to severe staffing shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.