UPDATE – March 19, 2019: Wow, what a session! Thanks to our community’s unwavering support, SB 23, SB 251, and SB 341 are on their way to the Governor! This is an incredible achievement when considering that more than 1,300 bills were introduced, and only 310 bills made their way through the 2019 Legislative Session. This success is because of the leadership of young people and YOU! Thank You!
This year’s New Mexico Legislative Session will occur from January 15 to March 16, 2019, and we are thrilled to continue to partner with young people to advocate for positive change in foster care and juvenile justice. NMCAN’s Youth Leaders will be working on the following issues:
- Extended foster care will allow young people to opt into age-appropriate supports up to age 21, allowing them continued and uninterrupted access to resources like case-management, living stipends that can be used to continue living in a licensed foster home or independently, and court review to ensure stakeholder compliance and youth well-being. Extended care essentially provides more time to finish school, develop skills to be successful adults, and build supportive networks and social capital. Bill info: Fostering Connections Act, SB 23 (Senators Michael Padilla and Candace Gould)
- The Tuition Waiver for foster youth already provides young people who aged out of foster care or were adopted from foster care after age 14 free tuition to state educational institutions. Young people who were placed in permanent guardianships after their 14th birthday should also be eligible for the tuition waiver. Bill info: Tuition & Fee Waivers for Foster Children, SB 251 (Senator George K. Muñoz)
- Partial credits should be awarded to foster youth and other similarly impacted young people when they are forced to change schools mid-semester. This will ensure that students receive credit for the work they have completed and help moderate the educational disruptions they experience. Bill info: Partial Credits Bill, SB 341 (Senator Linda Lopez)
- The Foster Care Financial Skills Program will ensure system-involved young people across the state have the skills needed for financial viability and well-being. Recommendations include a comprehensive, age-appropriate financial literacy training with ongoing financial coaching and matched savings to purchase an asset. Bill info: Foster Care Financial Skills Program, SB 371 (Senator George K. Muñoz)
We will be sharing more details as information becomes available, and please continue to visit this page to stay informed. You can also sign up for our newsletter or like our Facebook page. Please contact Executive Director Ezra Spitzer or Director of Policy and Advocacy Arika E. Sánchez to learn more.