Nowhere to go

“We now have the kids most in need of help in the facilities least equipped to help them.”
 —Dr. George Davis, former director of psychiatry for CYFD

In 2020, New Mexico’s child welfare agency vowed to place all foster children in safe homes and give them the mental health services they need. Instead, it’s been putting kids in homeless shelters. The result: attempted suicides, runaways, 911 calls, arrests and long-term harm. Searchlight partnered with ProPublica to document this crisis. Here are those stories and others.

Homeless Shelters Aren’t Equipped to Deal With New Mexico’s Most Troubled Foster Kids. Police See It for Themselves.

New Mexico places foster teens with serious mental health conditions in shelters that don’t offer psychiatric services. When a crisis erupts, they call 911. “This happens all the time,” said one officer.

Ten-year-old foster child allegedly sexually assaulted by foster teen at CYFD office building in Albuquerque

Agency offices are used to house foster children despite the state’s promise to provide them with appropriate homes

Child Welfare Experts Say New Mexico Can’t Put Kids in Homeless Shelters Just Because It Lacks Other Beds

An experts’ report found that New Mexico’s child welfare system has housed foster kids in homeless shelters and other inappropriate settings, corroborating an investigation by ProPublica and Searchlight New Mexico.

New Mexico Struggles to Follow Through on Promises to Reform Child Welfare System

Two and a half years after the state committed to reduce its reliance on emergency placements, it continues to leave some of its most troubled teens without the mental health services they need.

These Foster Kids Need Mental Health Care. New Mexico Is Putting Them in Homeless Shelters.

Youth crisis shelters aren’t set up to deal with foster youth who need intensive mental health treatment. When teens try to harm themselves or others, staff resort to calling 911.