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Report urges more services to prevent child abuse

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A legislative report says the rate of child abuse and neglect has been rising in New Mexico and the state should spend more on services to prevent the mistreatment of children, including in-home visiting to improve parenting skills.

The report was outlined Friday to members of the Legislative Finance Committee.

Children, Youth and Families Secretary Yolanda Berumen-Deines agreed that preventative services can help but urged lawmakers to change state law to broaden when the state can require families to participate in programs if there’s some evidence of possible mistreatment.

Such a proposal died in the Legislature earlier this year. She said the department currently can require families to accept services only if the neglect or abuse is severe enough to require the state to remove a child from their home.

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