NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department has launched a first-of-its-kind program in the nation that allows youth to report abuse or neglect through text messages. The program is called “Reach New Mexico” and it began Monday.

CYFD advocates will answer questions through text messages and connect children and teens with the support they need, 24-hours a day. If neglect or abuse is suspected, the worker will complete a report so investigators can respond.

CYFD says the average child has a cell phone by the age of 11 and are the most comfortable texting. “From there, they just start that conversation with ‘hi, I’m calling in because of abuse that may be happening at my home. I’m calling in because we don’t have enough food in my home,’ or ‘I’m calling for a friend that I know gets abused at their home,'” says Leticia Salinas of CYFD.

Youth can text 505-591-9444 to reach the service. The state has already received four text messages since the program started with youth asking for help.

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