New Mexico’s child care center workers overseeing more than 50,000 kids are about to get more help when it comes to identifying and reporting child abuse.
“We are advocates for these children and we do want what’s best for the children,” Coronado Children’s Center Co-Director Rogelle Price stated.
CYFD is sending packets this week to the state’s 750 child care centers about its new “Pull Together” initiative, which includes information that tells them how to identify signs of abuse or neglect and report it by calling #SAFE (1-855-333-SAFE), which directs them to the CYFD’s call center.
“[More calls] will help us get the reports that we need so that we can go out, do the investigations to keep these children safe,” CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said.
Jacobson also said she knew there needed to be an immediate change after the CYFD questioned whether a child care center could have done more to spot a recent child abuse case.
“We reached out to the child care center to talk to them about what they may have seen or known and really ask them why things were not reported. We found that there was just an uncertainty of how to report or what to report,” she added.
She said a similar initiative in New Mexico school districts led to 550 more reports to CYFD over the past two years.
“It’s a double-edged sword: We want them to report which is good because it’s getting eyes on children who need eyes on them. It’s just always sad when we see our child abuse numbers increase,” she stated.
To compare the number of reports, school districts in 2017 called #SAFE 5,387 times, while all of the child care centers made 100 calls, according to CYFD.
CYFD also says another reason child care center reporting numbers are lower than they could be is because some child care workers report to police without knowing they can call CYFD directly.