As we approach our 10th Annual KIDS COUNT Conference, after more than two years of a pandemic and its related recession, it’s hard to remember life in 2019, let alone what great things have been accomplished.Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Mexico’s kids were beginning to see more plentiful opportunities to thrive due to improvements in public policies that benefit child and family well-being, many of which NM Voices’ team and partners advocated to pass for many years.  As the global pandemic exacerbated existing systemic racial and gender inequities, important progress toward better childhood outcomes was threatened, but many of New Mexico’s leaders worked to protect and improve investments in our kids, families, and communities. During the 2020, 2021, and 2022 legislative sessions, our own state’s elected leaders took measures to address the immediate and longer-term needs of children and families.  And even while we celebrate this remarkable progress, we must also strive to continue to address persistent pandemic challenges and dismantle the systemic barriers that made them so inequitable along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, and income. This moment in time in the state is unique – so much pain has been experienced by so many, and also, so much strength, vision, and potential pulses through our communities, guiding us toward a brighter future.


9:45 – 10:00  Opening Entertainment 
DJ Ome, The People’s DJ
Ome will open the event and weave together an uplifting vibe through the entire event. Come on early to wake up to great music and energy.

10:00 – 10:10  Opening Remarks
Lt. Governor Howie Morales
Lt. Governor Morales will speak about the state of child well-being in New Mexico, the post-pandemic era and the impact on families, and critical policies that the administration has passed and will continue to work towards to lift up communities across the state.  

10:10 – 10:15  Welcome & Overview
Amber Wallin, MPA, Executive Director, NM Voices for Children 

10:15 – 10:25  KIDS COUNT & State of Child Well-Being in New Mexico
Emily Wildau, MPP, Research & Policy Analyst / KIDS COUNT Coordinator, NM Voices for Children
Emily will share findings from the most recently released National KIDS COUNT Data Book and statewide trends in child well-being. 

10:25 – 10:55  KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Leaning Into Critical Hope & Joy: A New Vision for Addressing Racial Wealth Inequities
Anne E. Price, MA, President, Insight Center
Anne will speak about a new vision for thinking about and addressing the wealth gap, and the need for a more expansive definition of wealth to include land, relationship, and other goods and ideals communities value beyond the limited notion of financial wealth.  She will also speak to how extraction is deeply intertwined with barriers to building wealth, specifically for communities and families of color.

Marsha Garcia, board member at NM Voices for Children
Marsha will welcome Anne and follow up her presentation with a Q&A session.

10:55 – 11:00  Break 

11:00 – 11:45  Centering Kids in Public Policy to Create Generational Change
Policy Team, NM Voices for Children
At this moment, New Mexico has a unique opportunity to restructure our systems, create more equitable policies, and rise together as a stronger, more just state. By making meaningful and equitable investments to support child and family well-being, our leaders and lawmakers can fight – and are fighting – poverty and racism with policies that center racial and economic equity, moving us toward not only an equitable recovery, but a more equitable future for generations to come.  Join the policy team members of NM Voices to hear about recent policy progress and policy opportunities for the future.

  • Amber Wallin, MPA, Executive Director 
  • Bill Jordan, MA, Government Relations Officer 
  • Paige Knight, MPP, Senior Research & Policy Analyst
  • Javier Rojo, MPA, Research & Policy Analyst 
  • Jacob Vigil, MSW, Senior Research & Policy Analyst 
  • Emily Wildau, MPP, Research & Policy Analyst/KIDS COUNT Coordinator 

11:50 – 12:00  Closing
Ken Martinez, Psy.D., Chair, NM Voices for Children Board of Directors 



The Delle Foundation



John Arango

Sandy Gold

Fred Harris & Marg Elliston

Norty & Summers Kalishman

Ken & Becky Martinez




Albuquerque Teachers Federation

Center for Civic Policy





DEI/ ENLACE & Unidos Project

Javier Aceves

NM Alliance for School-Based Health Care

NM Breastfeeding Task Force

NM Social Work Taskforce

Pegasus Legal Services


 Your support of the annual KIDS COUNT Conference helps NM Voices raise the resources necessary to work together with partners and policymakers to make transformational public policy changes that can lay the groundwork for ensuring New Mexico children and families are able to thrive.