November 8, 2018

CONTACT: Lynda Garcia, Communications Coordinator, United Way, 575-521-1957
OR: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-361-1288

Las Cruces, NM— NM Voices for Children and Ngage New Mexico are hosting the second annual Southern New Mexico KIDS COUNT conference, “Childhood Trauma – From Symptoms to Systems Change,” on Wednesday, November 14 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. The conference, which will include numerous speakers and learning sessions by local and regional professionals, will look at what are called adverse childhood experiences – referred to as‘ACEs’ – and how to recognize, treat, and prevent them.

ACEs include experiences like being the victim of or witnessing violence, losing a parent through death, divorce or imprisonment, and suffering some of the consequences of extreme poverty, such as chronic hunger and homelessness. Most children can experience one or two ACEs and recover, given strong support systems within their families and communities. But multiple ACEs often lead to poor outcomes in adulthood.

“Not all bad experiences can be prevented, but many ACEs can be. Local communities, with support from the state government, are best positioned to play a prevention role,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Mental health care, drug and alcohol addiction treatment, programs that help solve generational poverty, and parent coaching services like home visiting, all require state support in order to be available to those who need them,” he added.

“Sadly, ACEs – and specifically child abuse – have been in the news all too often around our state and here in Las Cruces,” said Lori Martinez, executive director of Ngage New Mexico. “The recently filed lawsuits against the Children, Youth and Families Department outline just how dire the situation is for too many children. The agency tasked with protecting children is under-funded and under-resourced, and is being charged with putting them in further danger. Clearly, we need strategies on all levels.”

This conference will provide both a clinical and a systems change lens to increase understanding for child advocates, service providers, communities, and policymakers about the causes, symptoms, and impacts of ACEs in children in New Mexico specifically, as well as strategies for redressing childhood trauma at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels. The event will feature experts and community leaders as speakers and trainers, offering breakout learning sessions to help build critical knowledge, strengthen their networks and resources, build skills for trauma-informed care provision and strategic policymaker advocacy, and encourage collective action for policy and systems change in our state.

The Nov. 14 conference is from 8am to 4:30pm at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave. Tickets are $30 general admission; $45 for those earning early childhood or social work/counseling CEUs; and include continental breakfast and lunch. For agenda and registration go to The conference is sponsored by the Empowerment Congress of Doña Ana County, WK Kellogg Foundation, Con Alma Health Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, and Nusenda Credit Union.

A full agenda is attached separately (download a pdf here).