A lawsuit has been filed against the state's Children, Youth and Families Department and Human Services Department, alleging that New Mexico's foster care system is a failure and needs to provide better treatment to children.
According to KOB4, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13 foster children and accused the state of removing children from dangerous or abusive living situations only to place them into unstable foster homes. The suit details numerous cases in which children in foster care have allegedly been abused, restrained or drugged by their state-assigned caretakers.
The suit also claims that state agencies regularly fail to provide the proper medical, mental and behavioral health screenings and treatment required by children suffering through trauma. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say they never received treatment while in CYFD custody and have been negatively impacted by the state's failure to provide trauma therapy.
A CYFD spokesperson told reporters that the department is “continuously working to improve the system overall.”
N.M. Unemployment Continues to Drop
Statewide unemployment figures have dropped since the year began, but still lag behind national rates.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions reported last week that the number of employed residents was 845,200 in August, an increase of 7,400 over July and 16,000 more than a year ago. The “supersector-level” industry to see the largest numeric and percentage increase was leisure and hospitality employment.
While the improvements show promise, the state's unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is still higher than the national average of 3.9 percent in August.
A more detailed analysis of the state's employment figures is slated to be released this week in the Department of Workforce Solution's Labor Market Review.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Albuquerque is also dropping. According to the US Bureau of Labor, the rate of unemployed city residents in July was 1.5 percent lower than at the same time last year; the employment rate was 2 percent higher.
Crime Leading Concern for Voters
An Albuquerque Journal poll shows local voters are more concerned with the state's crime problems than education, homelessness or economy issues.
The poll is based on a sample of 423 registered New Mexicans who voted in the 2014 midterms and 2016 general election and plan to vote this year. Results show 96 percent of those polled felt crime was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem.
According to the Journal, 84 percent of women and 72 percent of men polled consider crime a very serious problem, along with 84 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats. Over 80 percent of those living in Albuquerque or northwestern New Mexico rated it very serious, while only 57 percent in Las Cruces and the southwestern quadrant considered it as serious.
Public education was considered very serious by 68 percent of those polled. The same was said about homelessness by 54 percent. Only 35 percent felt the state's economy was a very serious problem, however.