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Voluntary home visits help combat child abuse

Colton Shone
February 24, 2017 06:21 PM

We've reported on way too many child abuse cases in our state. But there is a program that's geared at keeping child abuse from happening in the first place with voluntary at-home visits.

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According to a new report by the non-profit organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, nearly 7,600 children in our state experience abuse or neglect. The group says those children are twice as likely to become involved in crime later in life.

"The more we do to help young families and young mothers we end up with better children who are in better health, both mentally and psychologically," said APD Chief Gorden Eden.

That's why Chief Eden, Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace and the 13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez came together to tout the voluntary home visit program, "New Mexico Parents as Teachers." Home visitors will guide parents or soon-to-be parents on ways to care for their child when it comes to sleep, nutrition, and effective discipline.

"71% of the families in ‘Parents as Teachers’ have two to four high-needs characteristics, and most are living in poverty," said Parent Education Coordinator Emily Aragon.

The report says there are only 4,555 slots available for the 87,627 children who would qualify for at-home visitation. That means only 5% of children have access.

More support for these programs is growing in our state.

"Back in fiscal year 2012, the funding for home visiting was $2.3 million and this current fiscal year the funding is $17.5 million," said Joshua Spaulding with the Fight Crime organization.

He says more investment in these child development programs is crucial for our kids. In the latest Kids Count report, New Mexico ranks 49th in the country for child well-being. 

Credits

Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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