Across New Mexico, grandparents have become an unofficial safety net, stepping up to raise the grandkids when their own children can’t. Cases of “kinship guardianship,” as it is known, are hardly unique to the state. But in New Mexico, where family ties run deep, grandparents are playing an unusually common role in caring for their grandkids.
By every metric, New Mexico is considered the worst state in the nation to be a child. Change begins with Gov. Lujan Grisham's newly appointed secretaries. Searchlight New Mexico recently spoke with them about how they intend to move the needle.
Developed by corporate giant Deloitte at an initial cost of $115 million, the ASPEN system was intended to streamline New Mexico’s processing of benefits for its poorest residents. But it has repeatedly failed them, cutting off tens of thousands of children and families from their financial lifeline.
The number of children being raised by grandparents has exploded across New Mexico, nearly doubling to more than 55,000 — 10 percent of all the state’s children — since 1990. But many of those grandparents have found themselves denied assistance, often even when they meet eligibility requirements.
Single father Antonio Cordova says in his household, it is "father-son time all the time." He runs his own small business to provide for his family, while making sure his three boys are staying on the right track.