ALBUQUERQUE—In response to New Mexico’s fall to dead last in the nation in child well-being in the national KIDS COUNT Data Book, New Mexico Voices for Children is launching a policy campaign to improve child well-being. Advocates hope the campaign, called NM KIDS are COUNTing on Us, will be embraced by elected officials and other leaders.
“New Mexico has real problems when it comes to the well-being of our children, but they are not insurmountable,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., Executive Director of the child advocacy organization. “There is no single solution. Instead, we need a comprehensive plan. Our children can’t do well if their parents aren’t doing well, so many of these policies target our state’s economic problems.”
The agenda is structured to address each of the 16 indicators of child well-being that are measured in the annual Data Book and include policies such as:
- increasing funding for early childhood programs;
- restoring K-12 funding to pre-recession levels;
- restoring outreach efforts to enroll all eligible children in Medicaid;
- raising the state minimum wage;
- expanding adult basic education programs; and
- curbing tax cuts that deplete the budget of much-needed revenue without delivering new jobs.
“We can’t tax cut our way to prosperity,” said James Jimenez, Director of Policy, Research, and Advocacy Integration. “Not only are these tax cuts not working, but this is a backward approach to luring jobs to the state. Companies don’t want to come here if we’re not doing a good job of educating our workforce. Not only do our children deserve better, but our investments in them today will yield a more prosperous future for all New Mexicans.”
The policy agenda, to be released at a press conference today, includes input and support from dozens of other advocacy organizations.