(The Center Square) – New Mexico came in last place in a survey that measures child well-being in each state.
New Mexico ranked last in categories such as youth economic well-being and educational attainment. A growing number of the state’s youtha live in households without their birth parents and are experiencing mental health challenges at higher rates than they were in 2016, the data also showed.
The survey was conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in partnership with New Mexico Voices for Children.
“A child’s chances of thriving depend not only on individual, family and community characteristics but also on the state in which they are born and raised,” the survey concludes. “States vary considerably in their wealth and other resources. Policy choices and investments by state officials and lawmakers also strongly influence children’s chances for success.”
New Mexico has tried to improve the state’s child welfare system since Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took office in 2019.
Grisham signed a bill in March that made it harder for the state to take custody of Native American children from their homes or tribal areas. The state also raised its income qualification level for state benefits to $111,000 per year and waived child care copays, which can range between $400 and $900 per month, Spectrum 1 News reported.
But some argue that the policies her administration has implemented have not resulted in any real-life changes for the state’s children.
Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, a free-enterprise think tank, wrote in a blog post that it’s another example of Democrats trying to defend “big-spending, economically-destructive, and failed policies regardless of their actual impact on children.”