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Child Abuse Prevention Month: Concerns about NM Kids' Safety

April 18, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And with the new state hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect receiving a flood of calls, those on the front lines fighting the problem are concerned about child safety in light of recent budget cuts in New Mexico.

Miriam Rollin, national director of Fight Crime, Invest in Kids, says the problem is already serious

"In New Mexico alone in 2009, there were well over 5,000 cases of child abuse and neglect. Now, that's a lot of children suffering."

Nationwide, more than 12,000 children died from abuse and neglect between 2001 and 2008.

Rollin is among those urging Congress to hold national hearings on child abuse, and to provide emergency funding for states that are now running short.

She says there is an opportunity for states, with the $1.5 billion in federal funds set aside to fund Home Visiting Programs for the next five years. There's a catch, though; states have to keep their funding at current levels to get the federal match.

"We know it works; we know it saves more money than it costs down the road. It's been shown to have these amazing results of cutting child abuse substantially, cutting later delinquency substantially."

Through Home Visiting Programs, nurses and social workers keep in contact with poor and at-risk families to offer support and skills to prevent abuse and neglect. New Mexico hasn't made cuts in the program so far this year.

That New Mexico hotline number is 1-855-333-SAFE.

More information is available at www.everychildmatters.org

Laura Thornquist/Bill De Armond, Public News Service - NM