ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Undocumented immigrants may be licensed to serve as foster care providers, as may people with criminal histories not related to child abuse, according to updated regulations for licensing foster care providers in New Mexico revealed Friday by the state Children, Youth and Families Department.
“We’re removing unnecessary barriers that have prevented us from immediately placing children with family members, especially those who they already know and love,” CYFD Secretary Brian Blalock said in a news release issued by the department.
“When children come into foster care, they have already experienced trauma. Being placed with strangers can mean additional trauma … that we can avoid when kinship placement is a priority,” he said.
More thorough background checks will be conducted for all caregivers, including those who are undocumented. “All placement plans include emergency and backup provisions so that there are clear steps should a placement dissolve, and that includes when children are placed with undocumented relatives,” said Annamarie Luna, acting director of CYFD’s Protective Services.