CYFD offers new text service for teens
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new program under the Children Youth and Families Department is using social media to find kids who need help at home. Reach NM is an anonymous, 24-7, text-based service that connects young people directly with CYFD workers.
"So if they want to seek supports or resources, or if they’re wanting to report abuse or neglect, youth can actually do that from their cell phone, and the advocate on the other end of the line is doing it over the computer,” said Leticia Salinas, the Regional Office Manager for Statewide Central Intake.
She added that close to 80% of children have cell phones by the age of 11, which gives them access to a variety of resources through CYFD. They can talk about anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, or even report abuse.
"So of course there’s other text-enabled programs within the U.S., but here in New Mexico, Reach NM is the first one to get that information and then simultaneously be able to create a report about child abuse or neglect at the exact same time,” Salinas said. If there are concerns for abuse and neglect, Salinas said CYFD will send investigators to the child’s home to make sure they are safe.
She said this has also been a great tool for children and teens to use throughout the pandemic. "As we know, a lot of our children were home during the pandemic and weren’t at school,” she said. “They weren’t able to participate in those extracurricular activities, where they would have talked to a coach or to a counselor, to a teacher.”
To get in touch with Reach NM, text 505-591-9444, or visit pulltogether.org for more resources and information.