Council raises $7,000 for local non-profit impacting 7,500 children
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) was recognized during the Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC) Annual Training Conference in Santa Fe earlier this month with the 2022 Making a Difference Program award.
The Making a Difference Program Award recognizes a child support program that has made a difference and shown exceptional improvement in key aspects over the past three years.
“New Mexico Child Support program is honored to receive the WICSEC “Making a Difference” award, as it recognizes the hard work the program has been undertaking to improve the services provided to parents who are raising children in separate homes,” said Betina Gonzales McCracken, HSD’s Child Support Program Acting Director. “Those changes range from offering a more convenient online or by phone option to make payments, partnering with the Department of Workforce Solutions for job opportunities and job development for non-custodial parents to meet their monthly obligation, updating the child support guidelines based on parents’ actual income and ability to pay, reducing the “look-back” period to 3 years versus 12, and distributing more collections to families first.”
HSD’s child support program began a concerted effort in 2019 to make a difference through both program and electronic modernization initiatives that positively impact the families and children it serves.
In addition, modernization efforts have improved efficiencies for the child support program staff through e-filing with the courts, electronic document management, and upgrading the child support system.
The modernization efforts include a recent administrative order issued by HSD Cabinet Secretary David R. Scrase, directing the child support program to end the inefficient business of establishing a five-dollar a month medical support order for any child in the child support enforcement system who is covered by a public health plan, such as Medicaid.
“The goal of the child support program is ensuring children have the financial and medical coverage they need to grow up happy and healthy and for those low-income households whose children qualify for Medicaid,” said David R. Scrase M.D., cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “Establishing a five-dollar order is not an efficient business practice.”
HSD plans to work with a legislative sponsor to amend the Mandatory Medical Support Act to end the practice permanently.
During the WICSEC Training Conference, a non-profit organization is selected to be the recipient of fundraising efforts held during the conference. This year, WICSEC selected the National Dance Institute (NDI) New Mexico to be the recipient of its fundraising efforts through a raffle of dozens of items donated for the fundraising efforts. A total of $6,970 was collected through the fundraising efforts and given to NDI New Mexico, which served 7,500 children across the state.
“What a wonderful, amazing amount your generous group contributed to NDI New Mexico,” said Mary Gulledge, NDI Director of Advancement. “We are just so touched, and a bit overwhelmed by their generosity.”
We talk, interpret and smile in all languages. We provide written information to our customers in both English and Spanish and interpretation services are available in 58 languages through our provider, CTS Language Link. For our hearing, and speech impaired customers, we utilize Relay New Mexico, a free 24-hour service that ensures equal communication access via the telephone to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled.
The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to 1,080,042 New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.