by May Ortega, KUNM FM
June 7, 2018

New Mexico has some of the worst conditions for children in rural areas, according to a recent study. A local advocate for kids’ wellness said things are improving, and that voting can help with that momentum.

The study looked at factors like teen birth rates and violence against kids. New Mexico ranked 47th out of all 50 states.

James Jimenez leads New Mexico Voices for Children. He thinks the November elections could make way for more resources for kids living in these areas.

“Everyone says that our children are our most important asset, but it doesn’t really mean much if you’re not putting your votes behind the programs that really make a difference,” he said.

Jimenez said the state’s Child Care Assistance Program helps low-income families pay for their kids’ daycare so they can still go to work.

He also said expanding Medicaid has greatly helped rural families in particular because it’s made health care more affordable and accessible. He thinks that program and others could help more people after election season.

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