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Gov.: $1MIL to support CYFD Worker Support program

Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday appointed Monique Jacobson to head the Children, Youth and Families Department

Gov. Susana Martinez and Monique Jacobson, head the Children, Youth and Families Department, attend a news conference in this file photo.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday announced a $1 million expansion of the Children, Youth, and Families Department Family Support Worker program, which she began as a pilot in Bernalillo County in April of 2014.

The program — which now will serve Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Taos, Valencia, Chaves, and Dona Ana counties — provides high-risk families with service and support aimed at preventing child maltreatment, according to a news release.

“By engaging high-risk families and providing them with the proper support, we can better keep our children safe and promote healthy, loving homes and families,” Martinez said in a statement.

The governor, who announced the steps at a news conference in Los Lunas, also urged state lawmakers to enact stiffer penalties for those who assault child abuse caseworkers.

The Family Support Worker Program works with families in their homes and neighborhoods to help them meet the basic needs of their children and prevent child maltreatment and abuse. It is administered through local community providers based on referrals from CYFD and engages families who have faced multiple investigations by CYFD’s Protective Services Division over the last several years.

Training already has been completed with providers in all six counties and these providers have begun to receive referrals from CYFD. CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson joined Martinez for the Monday announcement.

“By expanding this very important program, we will now be able to provide many more New Mexico families with the necessary services aimed at preventing child maltreatment and truly improve the quality of life for the children in these families,”said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson.