By Bette Fleishman, Youth Today, May 8, 2020
For decades, we have repeated and recapitulated: Our nation’s foster care system is broken. New Mexico, which receives the lowest markers of child wellbeing and the second-highest level of childhood poverty, has, not coincidentally, one the worst child welfare systems in the nation. It is largely coercive and punitive, and disproportionately targets low-income children of color.
Further, 23 Native American tribes and pueblos are located in the state. All too frequently, Native children are wrested from their communities and culture without a thought given to the most appropriate placement; often they should not have been removed at all.
In September 2018, 14 children in the foster care system, as representatives of all foster children in New Mexico, teamed with two nonprofit organizations, Disability Rights New Mexico and Native American Disability Law Center, to file a lawsuit “seeking essential care, stability, treatment, and support for New Mexico’s 4,700 foster children.”