Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book has just been updated. The disheartening news is that according to the latest data, New Mexico has dropped, again, to the very bottom of the list, 50th across the nation for wellbeing of its children in the State. Las Cumbres, with its vital collabortion with select funders, continues to expand its services to families with children to meet the unsettling factors head-on that impact our community children and their families. We are pleased to announce the award of three supportive grants from the following private and city funders.
CIty of Santa Fe Children and Youth Commission award of $69,000 a year for two years will assist with maintaining treatment for a selection of Santa Fe's most trauma-impacted children and their families through the agency's Santa Fe Community Infant Program (CIP). Addressing multi-generational cycles of interpersonal and community violence, CIP staff will be in an even stronger position to aid parents and other caregivers to restore their role in their children's lives as "Protective Shields", with intensive intervention, concrete assistance, and parenting skills. To find out more about the Santa Fe-based infant and early childhood programs through CIP, click here.
United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) has bequeathed Las Cumbres $50,000 toward continuation of the agency's HEART Project. HEART, which stands for Healing Early Adversity through Resilience and Treatment, is now entering its third year. The project aims to nurture a behavioral health system that integrates and leverages agency expertise in trauma-informed and trauma-focused infant and early childhood mental health and education with intervention, assessment, and treatment; parenting supports; family navigation; and collective impact. With this year's HEART Project expansion, behavioral health supports will broaden to include the agency's therapeutic Pre-K preschool, Conjunto, in Espanola. This will further assist three- and four-year-olds as the ready and transition into kindergarten and public school. This UWNNM grant will assist families enrioled in Las Cumbres across Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. For more about Conjunto, click here.
A Santa Fe Community Foundation Spring 2018 Community Grant will similarly bolster therapeutic interventions for preschoolers enrolled in Conjunto. With introduction of an assessment tool reviewing "adverse childhood experiences" (known as ACEs) administered for both the child and their caregivers, preschool staff and behavioral health team members will better understand the range of factors that affect a child as he or she grows, tracking their progress on into kindergarten. One in ten children nationally has experienced three or more ACEs, placing them in a category of especially high risk. In five states - including Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio - as many as one in seven children has experienced three or more ACEs. ACEs are traumatic experiences that can have negative, long lasting effects on health and wellbeing in children and later in life. The Santa Fe Community Foundation grant award, in the amount of $50,000, will benefit children in Conjunto who arrive from Rio Arriba and northern Santa Fe counties.
From a recent story in Searchlight New Mexico, James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, is quoted "We can continue to dis-invest in our children or we can insist upon a new direction, one in which we make a deep commitment to improving conditions for all New Mexicans."
Learn more about specific demographics for New Mexico's children, by visiting Annie E. Casey's KIDS COUNT Data Book, by following this link.