Need for foster care parents increases in Chaves County

Need for foster care parents increases in Chaves County

More and more children – already in a tough spot – do not have a real home for the holidays.

CHAVES COUNTY, N.M. – The state’s Children, Youth and Families Department says there are children who are staying at the Chaves County CYFD office.

 “This is a phenomenon in that we have seen erupt in the past year, I would say we didn’t see this happening much before COVID,” says Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, CEO of the Chaves County CASA Program. “There are not enough foster homes and there are not enough treatment facilities for kids who have endured years and years of trauma.”

While there’s no telling how long the children stay at the office, CYFD Secretary Designate Teresa Casados, says the staff meets daily when there’s a behavioral health unity.

“They talk every single day to try to figure out placement for those kids, you know, sometimes it will result in us finding someplace, but they will stay in the office until we find the appropriate placement for them,” said Casados.

It’s a statewide issue, and officials say child welfare needs to be a higher priority.

“We talked about the economy, and we talked about high crime rates and, and drug issues and homelessness, but we need to be talking about these kids who need a home,” says, Kevin Berry, executive director of Peak Treatment Foster Care. “There’s going to be more than likely there’s going to be kids in New Mexico that are spending Christmas at the CYFD offices.”

Berry says if you can’t take on the role of a foster parent, donations and a little bit of your time is just as important. 

“You can be a CASA volunteer, you can get involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We have to make child welfare a priority,” said Berry.