Grandparents Raising Grandchildren legislation passed through the 2015 Legislative session with a successful House Memorial passage as well as a Senate Bill (Senate Bill 568). House Bill 8 requests a task force be convened to study and recommend policy change to expand the availability of resources and assistance for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Las Cumbres is named as member of the task force.
Potentially promising legislation has been introduced in the current 52nd Legislative Session requesting an appropriation for supportive services for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in New Mexico. Senate Bill 568 has been introduced by Senator Richard C. Martinez. Senator Martinez was instrumental in enabling passage of a Senate Joint Memorial in last year's legislature that culminated in a State Children Youth and Familes (CYFD) study and report citing the availability of resources for this important population of caregivers, grandparents caring for their grandchildren due to the absence of the biological parents in the grandchildren's lives.
This newly introduced Senate Bill requests an appropriation through the State's Longterm and Aging Department.
Las Cumbres' Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program is now in its fourth year, offering support groups, advocacy and an annual statewide conference for grandparents raising grandchildren often at the expense of their own financial and physical health. Support groups are held in Espanola on the last Thursday of every month from 5pm to 7pm at 404 Hunter Street in the Las Cumbres offices. For more information about the Rio Arriba group, telephone Delfinia Romero or Beth Pacheco, 505.753.4123. Drop-in support groups also meet in Santa Fe, the second Thursday of each month, at the former Agua Fria Elementary School site, 3160 Agua Fria Rd (United Way's Early Childhood Center). Call ahead to help with a dinner headcount for monthly Santa Fe meeting participation; contact the Office Manager at the Santa Fe office of Las Cumbres at 505.955.0410. Child care and dinner is always provided at both group meetings. Support group meetings offer grandparents opportunities to share emotional challenges, feelings of isolation, and make connections with others who are experiencing similar situations raising children "a second time around".
In New Mexico, more than 25,000 grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren. In Rio Arriba County, 60% of children under the age of 6 are in the care of their grandparents. In Santa Fe County, 35% of grandchildren under the age of 6 are being cared for by grandparents.
Reach out to your legislator today! Then tell someone you know who might benefit about these free services provided by Las Cumbres offering them one of the telephone numbers found above. Give them a ride to a meeting!