Created: 04/14/2014 6:28 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
U.S. Senator Tom Udall is looking to introduce new laws to improve child welfare in the nation and he is asking New Mexico for suggestions on where to go from here.
The room located in the Youth Development Inc. building in downtown Albuquerque was a giant think tank. Local social service groups, non-profits, and community leaders were the drivers of the ideas.
New national rankings put New Mexico last in child wellbeing. Sobering news for the people in charge of making sure the state's children are safe.
"We’re 50th in so many categories, be it income equality, education, and child wellbeing," said Doctor Veronica Garcia with the New Mexico voices for children.
She says “yes, we are in a bad place” but its discussions like these that will help us get out of it.
“We’re going to need a bold-bold move, to move New Mexico and not lose a whole generation of children," she said.
Attendees put a big emphasis on the local need for early childhood education and family counseling programs as part of a solution.
Udall says although he operates on the federal level, he wants to introduce legislation that will cater to New Mexico’s child wellbeing issues, which he says goes in hand with child abuse and child neglect.
“I’m trying to go to the people who are in the trenches,” he said, “who are seeing this every day and brainstorm on what are the things that would make a difference in New Mexico.”
On the state level CYFD is also reforming their system...to make sure children don't fall through the cracks.
That includes improving communication with law enforcement.