Mission

New Mexico Child Advocacy Networks (NMCAN) is a visionary champion for New Mexico’s most vulnerable children and youth by providing innovative programming and effective advocacy.

Vision

Every child and young person lives in a community where they are happy, healthy and safe.

Values

  NMCAN believes in the resiliency, individuality and strengths of children, youth and families.

NMCAN believes that it will be most effective when it engages in meaningful, innovative collaborations with local communities.

NMCAN believes in applying evidence-based strategies and innovative programming in pursuit of its mission.

NMCAN believes in volunteerism and strives to support a culture of effective, well-trained volunteers that are appreciated.

NMCAN provides opportunities for and encourages staff, volunteers, and board members to become stronger leaders in our communities.

NMCAN is child and youth driven, and believes that they should have a respected voice and full participation in the development of the programs and policy formulations designed to serve and support them and decision making in their own lives.

NMCAN believes in implementing anti-racist policies and practices and is committed to equitable treatment and diversity among our staff, volunteers and the people and programs we serve.

 

 

Our History

New Mexico Child Advocacy Networks is a visionary champion for New Mexico’s most vulnerable children and youth by providing innovative programming and effective advocacy. Our efforts are currently focused on improving the systems that directly and indirectly impact the lives of children in foster care.  We leverage community partnerships and volunteerism to advocate for and provide services to these young people.  Our projects provide a multitude of services including mentorship, statewide program support, education and training, systems and policy advocacy, and data collection and dissemination. Our primary goal is to facilitate and support meaningful advocacy for the safety, permanency and well-being of children and youth impacted by the foster care system so that the systems designed to support them are better equipped to do so.  It is our belief that communities will respond appropriately to challenges when properly informed and supported.

 

NMCAN was originally incorporated in 1990 as the New Mexico CASA Network (NMCASA). The organization for many years was committed solely to the development, growth, training and quality assurance of local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) programs. CASA programs train community volunteers to speak up in court for the best interests of children that have been abused or neglected. NMCASA currently supports 16 local programs in 21 communities across the state to provide individual volunteer advocacy to approximately 1,600 children in foster care in NM.

 

After many years of providing direct services and advocacy for children and youth involved in the child welfare system it became evident that unfortunately not all children are able to return home and are also not adopted.   Every year these young people age out of foster care at 18 without having had the experiences and opportunities necessary to develop self-advocacy skills, to build positive peer networks and to access the family and community supports all young people need to achieve their dreams and become successful adults.  In 2005 we broadened our mission and changed our name to NMCAN so that we could explore additional ways to strengthen our impact. We also began engaging with young people to identify programmatic frameworks to address some of these needs.  In 2011, NMCAN also began engaging with the national Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to help broaden our learning and impact.  From these conversations and dialogues the Building Futures & Foundations Project was created. BFF is working with community partners and young people to identify the unique strengths and needs of New Mexico’s foster youth while using national evidence-based strategies for improving outcomes in education, employment, health, housing, permanency, financial capability and social capital.

 

NMCAN believes that we live in a world in which we need to share responsibility and the health and well-being of a community can be measured by the health and well-being of our most vulnerable children.  In partnership with young people and local communities we are working to improve the lives of future generations.