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.
Cliff and Debra Gilmore say they didn’t have any ties to New Mexico when the married couple uprooted from their lives in Vancouver, Washington, to move to Santa Fe, where they landed jobs with the state Children, Youth and Families Department in late 2020. But the Gilmores’ stints at the agency didn’t last long. They were both fired on May 6 in what they allege in a lawsuit was an act of retaliation for raising ethical concerns.
Recently released data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows improvements to New Mexico’s child well-being, but the state remains a tough place to be a kid. The 2021 national Kids Count Data Book ranks New Mexico 49th in the nation in 16 key child well-being indicators such as child poverty and teen birth rates. The state jumped ahead of Mississippi, which fell to the bottom of the country for overall child well-being.