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Monday, July 15, 2024

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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure build-up a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Children's advocates: NM 'cradle to career' investment pays off

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Friday, June 14, 2024   

Advocates for New Mexico's kids say at the heart of an annual report on child welfare is positive news for the state's families.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2024 Kids Count Data Book revealed despite a low ranking among the 50 states, new policies are having an impact.

Gabrielle Uballez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, believes the state is on the right track by adopting a "cradle to career" approach. By implementing an inclusive tuition-free college program and making child care free for one year for nearly all residents, she believes in many ways the state is ahead of the curve.

"Giving parents and families the ability to enter the workforce and change their economic status is going to change what New Mexico looks like five, 10, 20 years from now," Uballez contended.

She pointed out the state's refundable tax credits and income support programs are lowering poverty rates, which will in turn improve the outlook for kids. She admitted New Mexico's 50th ranking for child well-being is frustrating but it also serves as motivation to continue improving the state's systems making it possible for kids and families to thrive.

The report not only looks at economic well-being but education.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said nationwide, the rate of chronic absenteeism among school students is nearly double pre-pandemic rates, with disruptive results. There is a gap in which kids have the best chance to succeed and thrive as adults.

"We continue to see disparities persist for kids of color, particularly for Black kids, for Latino kids and for Native kids," Boissiere reported. "It's persistent across states, and it's pervasive across the decades that we've been reporting the Data Book."

Uballez, who took on the leadership role at Voices for Children three months ago, stressed it is important to remember the rankings only show annual child outcomes, with no way to measure progress due to recent policy changes. She sees a lot of momentum to help more kids thrive even though there's still work to do.

"How do we look beyond a 'let's alleviate poverty' mindset to a 'how do we build resilient communities and wealth?'" Uballez asked. "So that people have the ability to make choices about their own lives and have economic security and resilience."

Disclosure: New Mexico Voices for Children/Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Immigrant Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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