New state office will offer solutions beyond foster care - Albuquerque Journal

New state office will offer solutions beyond foster care

We applaud the governor for signing the Family Representation and Advocacy Act, which establishes the Office of Family Representation and Advocacy (OFRA), an independent office to provide quality legal representation to children and families in cases involving allegations of abuse and neglect. Managing, standardizing and monitoring performance and outcomes is key to improving the effectiveness of legal representation for families.

Legislation that created OFRA comes from three years of work by the Family Representation Commission, a group of legislators, child welfare stakeholders and advocates. It received near unanimous bipartisan support at the legislative session.

Following best practices, the office will house interdisciplinary teams of attorneys, social workers and parent mentors to honor families’ rights, strengthen parents’ ability to care for their children, and avoid family separation when possible. Teams will address the conditions that bring families into the foster care system, which are typically related to poverty – 73% of cases in New Mexico are due to neglect. This is important because family separation is traumatic for children and should not be the solution for struggling with housing stability, childcare, food insecurity and physical/mental health.

Harmful narratives aim to convince us all child abuse and neglect cases are horrific incidences perpetrated by disgraceful parents and family reunification is bad. These narratives prompt laws to punish the worst individuals but are ineffective at addressing the root causes of abuse and neglect and supporting families.

Child abuse and neglect comes from a complex and painful history, and it should never happen. However, sensationalized narratives prevent productive public discourse, keeping us focused on punishing parents and moving children into a broken system. OFRA and quality legal representation are solid first steps on the long road to achieving real community change – a change that creates community-centered approaches that address poverty and truly support families.

NMCAN is an Albuquerque-based nonprofit focused on young people impacted by foster care.

Home » From the newspaper » New state office will offer solutions beyond foster care


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
The wisdom of forests? Leave them alone and they ...
From the newspaper
More and more of us understand ... More and more of us understand that forests are not places where individual trees are locked in comp ...
2
How many more will suffer at Forest Service's hands?
From the newspaper
Just in case you have a ... Just in case you have a short memory or haven't lived in fabulous New Mexico for very long, he ...
3
Editorial: Forest Service must take its missteps and health ...
Editorials
An 85-page U.S. Forest Service review ... An 85-page U.S. Forest Service review of the origins of the Hermits Peak Fire suggests the biggest w ...
4
When your employees can't afford to live here
From the newspaper
It's no surprise every hospitality business ... It's no surprise every hospitality business in and around Santa Fe is hiring. But according to ...
5
Thieves take so much more than your cash
Columnists
Being victimized can cause trauma, and ... Being victimized can cause trauma, and has nothing to do with your 'intelligence or common sense'
6
Tips for keeping you and your energy bills cool ...
Columnists
It is hot outside. According to ... It is hot outside. According to PNM, demand for electricity is highest during the summer cooling sea ...
7
Fear-mongering narratives on the border situation show ignorance
From the newspaper
Calls for enforcement fail to recognize ... Calls for enforcement fail to recognize the real challenges
8
Miss O'Keeffe's home sweet home
Arts
Beautiful Chama River Valley drew artist ... Beautiful Chama River Valley drew artist to Abiquiú
9
Roe v. Wade reversal could have ripple effect on ...
ABQnews Seeker
Providers worry an influx of out-of-state ... Providers worry an influx of out-of-state patients could strain state's system