UPDATE: Great news for young people in New Mexico! The New Mexico Legislature passed SB 168, Foster Youth Changes, and SB 130, School Credit for Transfer Students. This means:
- Young people who are exiting state care will have access to age-appropriate supports and opportunities to succeed in the transition to adulthood.
- Students in the foster care/juvenile justice systems and those experiencing homelessness who are forced to change schools when they move or come into care will receive credit for the work completed at their previous school.
THANK YOU to young people for their advocacy, Senators Lopez and Padilla for carrying these bills and their commitment to these issues, the New Mexico Legislature, and you – the NMCAN community – for advocating for these important laws and making your voices heard in support of young people impacted by systems. YOU ARE AWESOME!
New Mexico’s 2020 Legislative Session takes place from January 21 – February 20, and we are thrilled to continue partnering with young people to advocate for positive change in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. We recognize that the only way to ensure that young people are thriving as they transition to adulthood is through authentic youth-adult partnerships, and ensuring they are at the table to inform the creation and development of programs and policies designed to support them.
NMCAN’s Youth Leaders will be working on the following issues during the 2020 session:
- Young people who are exiting state care need age-appropriate supports and opportunities to succeed in the transition to adulthood. The current array of services aren’t properly supporting young people transitioning to adulthood, and New Mexico needs to better leverage federal Title IV-E dollars to provide these transition services to all young people impacted by systems. Extended foster care allows young people to opt into age-appropriate supports up to age 21. Bill info: Foster Youth Changes, SB 168 (Senator Michael Padilla)
- The partial credits bill will benefit students in foster care who are forced to change schools when they move foster homes or come into care. When students move schools, they typically lose credit for work they did in previous public schools. As a result, students are not able to graduate on time, and many of them give up and leave school. The bill will ensure students who are system-involved and who have moved schools receive credit for the work completed in their previous school. Bill info: School Credit for Transfer Students, SB 130 (Senator Linda Lopez)
- The employer tax credit bill will provide an increased monetary incentive to employers who hire current and former foster youth, giving them increased access to jobs. In order to improve their transition to adulthood and help address New Mexico’s skilled employee gap, young people aging out of foster care must be allowed to work, and employers must be encouraged and supported in providing employment opportunities for foster youth. Bill info: Foster Youth Employment Tax Credit, SB 206 (Senators George K. Muñoz and Candace Gould)
- The subsidized guardianship bill will provide financial assistance to grandparents or other caregivers who assume legal guardianship of a child in foster care or other out-of-home placement, keeping children and youth with family—maintaining their relationships with siblings, extended family members, and their community. This will prevent the disruption and trauma children and youth face when they are removed from their families. Bill info: Subsidized Guardianships, SB 146 (Senator Linda Lopez)
We will share more information as it becomes available. Please continue to visit this page to stay informed, or 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.