ICYMI: ABQ JOURNAL ED BOARD: “Land of Child Endangerment”
Without reform, the state of New Mexico may as well adopt a new slogan

Albuquerque, NM – Yesterday, the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board released their Sunday column highlighting the appalling child-abuse case that is unraveling in Texico, New Mexico. 

The case in Texico brings to light a larger issue that has plagued New Mexico for years, the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the Children, Youth, and Family Department.

In this specific instance, children have been removed from the care of this household at least once due to neglectful, if not abusive living conditions.

The Journal column elaborates: “Intervention can’t come soon enough as the horror of the Texico case unfolds through court records.

Former friends and relatives recently told State Police they notified authorities of the hungry children who lived on a ramshackle property and how they were abused, locked in dog kennels and chained to their beds.

State Police and investigators with CYFD went to the home July 22 after receiving a report; six children were removed from the home.

Jayme Kushman and Jaime Sena, who lived at the home, are being held without bond on multiple child abuse charges. Court records show the investigation is now delving back to at least 2016, when State Police allege Kushman and her then-girlfriend Lora Melancon were living together. Melancon, 41, of Clovis, was arrested Sept. 2 on four counts of abuse of a child. She bonded out of jail Sept. 7.

It’s clear from court documents and a redacted State Police lapel camera video of the July visit that CYFD had responded to the home multiple times before and removed the children at least once. At one point, a CYFD investigator told a State Police officer “they used to keep them in dog cages. We’ve taken these kids away from them before for being in dog cages.”

And yet the children were returned to the home. The Children’s Code denies the public any explanation why.” 

Michelle Lujan Grisham campaigned on a promise in 2018 that addressing the issues within this agency was going to be one of her administration’s top priorities. If this is how the governor treats one of her campaign promises, it is unlikely that another four years of her leadership will do anything to fix the grave issues that have been brought to light over the past several years. 

New Mexico’s children cannot wait for justice, and the lack of accountability by this administration, as well as an unwillingness to open the process to the public is appalling. 

Read the full column here.