IN FOCUS: Child Well-Being In New Mexico

Jan 5, 2018

Child well-being in New Mexico is the focus of a new investigation that is set to publish this year from Searchlight New Mexico, a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization.

During a taping of KRWG-TV’s In Focus, Lauren Villagran, a reporter with Searchlight New Mexico says the organization is investigating a number of different topics associated with child-well-being.

“We’re basically going to look at a number of domains…the economy, health, education, and family, and really kind of dig deep into the problems that the state faces,” said Villagran.

During the interview, data from the 2017 Kids Count Profile by the Annie E. Casey Foundation was discussed. According to the profile, New Mexico in 2015 had 29 percent of children in poverty compared to the national average of 21 percent that year ( The profile also says that during the same year, 34 percent of the state’s children had parents who lacked secure employment compared to the national average of 29 percent. Villagran says when it comes to poverty, there are parts of the state that suffer more than others.

“Parts of Doña Ana County rank among the very most impoverished in the state, there’s an area of Albuquerque…the international district that is number one in terms of a concentration of all of the very worst indicators related to child well-being,” said Villagran.

Searchlight New Mexico plans to publish a story that focuses on kids in that district of Albuquerque. Villagran said on the program that she has been investigating early education in the state. On the program, she also said that there is a big debate on how to pay for early childhood education. The investigative news organization plans to begin publishing later this month around the time when New Mexico’s legislative session will be kicking off during this election year.  

“We're hoping to provide the kind of information that will educate voters as they head to the polls through the primary season and the election season later this year," said Villagran.

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