CYFD urged to seriously address underreporting of child abuse as NM schools remain closed

Santa Fe – Several House Republican Legislators, and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) Board of Education member, Peggy Muller-Aragon, today urged the NM Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to address the underreporting of suspected child abuse during the continued schools shutdown. A recent report, during the Legislative Finance Council interim meeting, revealed that child abuse reporting has dropped significantly (42% in April, 33% in May) during the school closures. Educators represent roughly 20% of those who report suspected child abuse.

The letter signed by House GOP Legislative Education Study Committee members, Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences), Rep. David Gallegos (R-Eunice), Rep. Tim Lewis (R-Rio Rancho), Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Belen), Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas), and APS board of education member Peggy Muller-Aragon references a recent media report in which the CYFD Cabinet Secretary indicated that the Lujan Grisham administration is looking into these issues as schools re-open. 

From the letter: “In a recent Albuquerque Journal article, yourself and other Lujan Grisham administrators highlighted concerns about these issues. What is confusing is that for the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis, these issues have seemed to have taken a backseat. While we are thankful that students will be allowed to return to the classroom in some communities, the fact remains that the decisions being made are continuing to expose many school-age children to increasingly stressful home environments and will result in greater hopelessness and other behavioral health problems.   Therefore, having the Children Youth and Families Department engaged and with a plan will help legislators, and other concerned officials to determine what resources and programs may be necessary now and in the future to address this problem.”