New Mexico youth can textual content CYFD for assist with Attain NM program

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families division has launched Reach NM, a new program that allows teenagers to contact the nationwide Central Admissions division by texting 505-591-9444, to get support and resources or to report suspected abuse or neglect.

New Mexico is the first state to put in place a system that allows reports of child abuse and neglect to be recorded entirely via SMS.

Reach NM provides specially trained staff to answer questions from teenagers and connect them with the support they need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The average child now has a cell phone by age 11, and texting is the most convenient form of communication, according to research by Arizona State University.

“We know children are the experts in their own lives and the ability to communicate with a young person in the way they like best is key to assessing a child’s needs,” said Brian Blalock, CYFD Secretary . “With Reach NM we can connect one-on-one to provide support and resources in a way that our children take for granted.”

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Brian Blalock, new secretary for the Department of Children, Adolescents and Families in New Mexico, speaks to people in the rotunda after his Behavioral Health Day presentation at the Capitol this month.  Gabriela Campos / The new Mexican

Teens who text messages on Reach NM are directly connected to an attorney who asks some initial assessment questions, including what is going on and how the teens feel when they contact the department.

The employee then connects the child to the appropriate resources in their community. If the suspicion of abuse or neglect is uncovered, the text engagement employee prepares an official report on the nationwide central recording so that the investigators can react appropriately depending on the severity of the situation – the same applies if a notification via the department # SAFE / 855-333- is received. SECURE phone numbers.

“One of my senior executives received a text message from a young person who was in distress in the middle of the night,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “My staff were able to connect this child to the help they needed and this led to the idea of ​​a text-based reporting and support system available to young people anytime, day or night. This is an important tool to help our Empowering Young People to Help Themselves and Their Families Not Just Young People Feel More Comfortable Similar programs exposing abuse and neglect via text message as phone calls or face-to-face meetings have reported that young people feel better when they are too ask for help. “

CYFD worked with provider iCarol to establish the Reach NM SMS system that allows users to send a short message service (SMS) or a text message.

Engagement experts can also use the system to connect those in need to the wide range of support and services available, such as food banks or assistance with transportation to and from medical appointments.

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While individuals reporting through Reach NM may remain anonymous, employees can track calls from the same person over time and potentially uncover other ways the department could support them or their family.

“If you’re a youngster in need of help, we can connect you to resources that work for you,” said Blalock. “We want to authentically involve children where they are and say to this young person,” You could help yourself or your family by standing up and asking for help. “It’s not easy to ask for help. By providing convenient ways to ask for help, we can, over time, help destigmatize the use of important community supports like food banks and behavioral health.”

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