A first round of pandemic aid payments to young adults transitioning out of foster care is expected to go out this month after New Mexico received $1.8 million from the federal government for the program. Information on the second round of applications—open to New Mexicans aged 21 to 26 who were involved in the state foster care system—will be available on the CYFD.org homepage in early August, according to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
Child Tax Credit payments are a key part of Democrats' COVID-19 aid bill passed in March, but for policymakers they are more than just an attempt to help families recover from the pandemic. The monthly checks of up to $300 per child for millions of families are part of an ambitious attempt to shrink child poverty and rethink the American social safety net in the process.
For at least the past two years, Albuquerque lawyer Antonia Roybal-Mack says that when representing some of the most vulnerable children in the state, she receives skimpy background information from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD). “Every single time we get records from CYFD, they aren’t complete. They’ll send us the file and we know there’s stuff specifically missing because we get [the missing] information from other places,” says Roybal-Mack. “We’re litigating with one hand tied behind our backs.”