Report: Too Many Foster Kids Unnecessarily in Group Homes

NM does better than most states at placing kids with families and relatives

May 19, 2015

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children
505-244-9505 ext. 110 (p), 505-401-8709 (c), 505-244-9509 (f),

ALBUQUERQUE—A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that, nationally, one in every seven children in the welfare system is in a group home. This, despite the fact that more than 40 percent of these children have no clinical need to be in such restrictive settings. The Casey Foundation report, “Every Kid Needs a Family,” makes the case that children do better when they are placed in a family setting.

“We have an obligation to help all of our kids succeed,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. “If our children couldn’t live with us, we would want them to live with someone close to us – and if that couldn’t happen, with a caring foster family who could provide them with as normal a life as possible during a turbulent time. This report shows more kids can live safely in families and get the nurturing they need while under the care and protection of our child welfare systems.”

New Mexico does better than many states in terms of placing children in family settings, according to the report. While 84 percent of foster children nationally are in family placements, the percentage in New Mexico is 92. Just six states have a higher percentage of children in family placements than New Mexico.

New Mexico also does well in terms of the percentage of children who are placed in kinship care—in the care of a relative such as grandparents. Five percent of New Mexico’s foster kids are in the care of relatives. Only four states have a higher percentage.

“I think the kinship care rate speaks to our cultural roots and history—New Mexico is very family-focused,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which is a grantee of the Casey Foundation. “As a state we must do our best to support these special families and the children in their care by ensuring that they can access the benefits those children are entitled to and that they have assistance in navigating those systems,” she added.

The Casey Foundation report, “Every Kid Needs a Family,” is available online at


KIDS COUNT is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities.

625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p);