“It’s encouraging to see that child well-being was improving before the pandemic hit,” said James Jimenez, executive director for New Mexico Voices for Children. “We’re cautiously optimistic that investments the state made in children and families beginning in 2019 – as well as throughout the pandemic – helped offset some of the health and financial problems caused by the pandemic."
Fact Sheet The national 2021 National KIDS COUNT Data Book uses the most recent data available for its 16 indicators of child well-being. Since this year's report is based mostly on data from 2019, some limited pandemic-era data have been added, including some dsiaggregated by race and ethnicity. (State-level data on six pandemic-related indicators)
New Mexico is no longer ranked last for child well-being by the national 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has New Mexico ranked at 49th – up from 50th last year. The higher ranking correlates with improvements the state was seeing in child well-being prior to the start of the pandemic.
State Data Sheet The national 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, assesses and ranks the 50 states on 16 indicators of child well-being, which are categorized into four domains - economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. After three years of ranking in last place, New Mexico moved up to 49th in 2021. (State-level data on indicators of child well-being)
Many great organizations, both state agencies and nonprofits, are hard at work addressing the major components of child development and care. Organizations such as New Mexico Kids, Farm to Table New Mexico, the Brindle Foundation and New Mexico Voices for Children address a wide range of issues, such as early childhood education, food security and safe neighborhoods.
New Mexico stuck with $8 billion in cleanup for oil wells, highlighting dangers from fossil fuel dependence
The state has long suffered from the roller coaster cycles of extractive industry, according to James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, a health, education, and economic advocacy organization. “We’ve made policy choices in boom times that have really exacerbated our over-dependence on oil and natural gas revenues,” Jimenez told DeSmog.
Part of the social contract for companies operating in New Mexico is the straightforward notion that they should clean up after themselves. That’s especially true for industries like oil and natural gas whose messes contain deadly pollutants.
Child Advocates: State Cannot Continue to Leave Taxpayers on Hook for Cleaning Up After the Oil and Gas Industry
“New Mexico already has more than 700 abandoned wells that need to be plugged and the land restored at a cost of millions. Meanwhile, these orphaned wells are likely polluting our air, land, and water. Another 529 wells are at risk of becoming orphaned just on New Mexico’s federal public lands alone. This will leave our children with a terrible legacy of environmental degradation, the health problems created by pollution, and the extraordinary cost to clean it all up. That’s not the kind of future we should be preparing to leave New Mexico’s children.
“If children are not ready to learn by the time they reach kindergarten, they’re already compromised. When they start from behind, too often they will end up behind,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children.
“We have oil and gas, and so we have chosen to provide tax cuts in other areas,” said Bill Jordan, the government relations officer at New Mexico Voices for Children, an advocacy group. “Other states have figured out how to pay the bills … and they do it without oil and gas.”