AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT

CITY OF LAS CRUCES

PROJECT SUMMARY

Jardin de Los Ninos' Flourishing Families Infant Mental Health Program's holistic, strengths-based service delivery model will address trauma for high-risk families who experience generational poverty, trauma, domestic violence, food insecurity, and high mobility. Homeless children and families who experience trauma are unlikely to have their basic social/emotional, and healthcare needs met. Through the Flourishing Families Infant Mental Health Program model, children and families will receive direct therapy services and social/emotional learning support. Parents will also participate in a trauma-informed mentoring program.

GOALS

The Flourishing Families Infant Mental Health Program aims to 1) advance the health, safety, and well-being of homeless/near homeless and abused/neglected children and 2) strengthen and stabilize the family to quickly minimize the ill effects of homelessness on children.

OUTCOMES

200 youth received mental health services. Family members also received mental health services and were connected to wrap-around services that minimized the impact of hemelessness or near-homelessness.

RATIONALE FOR THE PROJECT

New Mexico and Dona Ana County continue to experience a rise in homelessness. According to the 2020 Kids Count Report, 26% of children living in New Mexico live in poverty, as opposed to 18% nationwide. In Dona Ana Conty, 43% of children 0-4 live in poverty compared to 28% in New Mexico. In addition, 42% of Dona Ana County children live in high-poverty areas as opposed to 19.7% in New Mexico. Overall, New Mexico ranks 50th for overall child well-being in education, health, family, and community development, according the 2020 Kids Count Report. Homeless children are at a higher risk of abuse, neglect, poor health, hunger, chaos, and trauma.


Children and families experiencing homelessness experience social issues such as food insecurity, low literacy skills, developmental delays, lack of access to medical and behavioral health care, high mobility, domestic violence, and child neglect. COVID-19 quarantines placed victims of domestic violence and their children at a greater risk. The child abuse rate (the number of substantiated child victims of abuse or neglect per 1,000 children) was approximately 15 in every 1,000 children under 18 (Kids Count, 2020). One in ten homeless youth misses more than a month of school annually, has lower math scores, and enters the juvenile justice system by the age of eight, one in three has a significant mental health disorder. Children who are homeless or near homeless have a higher risk of experiencing abuse and neglect (Voices for Children, 2018). Jardin de Los Nino serves children and families that are homeless or near homeless.