Category Archives: episode

Transitioning Out of Foster Care

Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Each year in New Mexico, about 100 youth in foster care will hit age 18. That means they are then defined as adults and lose most of the services they rely upon daily.

The outcomes for these youth are not good. In 2011 in New Mexico, only 25 percent graduate from high school and 46 percent experienced episodes of homelessness by the age of 17. Nationally, one quarter have attempted suicide. Girls are more than twice as likely to be pregnant by age 19. The annual cost per cohort among these young adults is estimated to be $7 billion, according to the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.

How can we ensure these young people have the support they need to succeed as adults?

On this month’s Public Square, former foster children talk about their struggles in the system and how it impacted their ability to be independent adults. Advocates talk about their work helping young people navigate the many paths out of the system to self-sufficiency.

Community leaders include State Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, Patrice Perrault, youth services bureau chief with Children Youth and Families Department – Protective Services, and Judge John Romero of the Children’s Court Division.

Join New Mexico PBS for a PUBLIC SQUARE, where civic dialogue takes center stage. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. PUBLIC SQUARE is hosted & produced by Megan Kamerick.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“I completely lost contact with friends, family, everything was taken away from me.”
~Lauren Huichan, Former foster child and youth advocate

“Biggest danger to adolescents in foster care is they have to be adults faster than they need to be adults. The biggest help for kids is to be a kid.”
~Jomo Z.M. Thomas, II, Clinical Director, Youth Development Inc.

“We need to see every relationship that child has as an opportunity, and work so hard to preserve it.”
~Liz McGrath, Co-Director, Pegasus Legal Services for Children

“We don’t think outside the box often enough. And I don’t believe the system encourages young people to be more vocal. We kind of put them in silos as though they were separate and different kids. They’re all our kids.”
~John Romero, Presiding Judge, Children’s Court Division

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Youth Mental Health

Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Mass shootings committed by young people have filled the headlines over the last year, These tragedies have brought renewed attention to the issue of youth mental health.

The national statistics are disturbing. Half of all lifetime cases of mental and substance abuse disorders begin by age 14. About 13 percent of young people live with a serious mental illness. However, only about 20 percent of those kids get the treatment they need. Many end up in the juvenile justice system.

So should we change how we intervene in children’s lives before problems become crises?

On this month’s Public Square, young people in New Mexico talk about their struggles with mental health issues. Advocates and public health experts discuss where we need to focus our resources. Community leaders include Yolanda Cordova, director of the Office of School and Adolescent Health in the New Mexico Department of Health and Diana McWilliams, acting CEO of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative.

Join New Mexico PBS for a PUBLIC SQUARE, where civic dialogue takes center stage. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. PUBLIC SQUARE is hosted & produced by Megan Kamerick.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“I wanted to kill myself. I tried in 2nd grade, I tried in 4th grade, 5th grade, and again in 6th grade. Things just got worse. Everybody was calling me the crazy girl.”
~Latishia Sanchez, Youth Advocate

“We need preventative care instead of ‘proventative’ care and I think we get proventative care with mass shootings because now we’re trying to figure it out after the horribleness has already taken place.”
~James Roach, Youth Coordinator

“What’s very clear is we all have mental illness in our families. We don’t talk about it.”
~Dr. Steve Adelsheim, Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist

“Let’s teach our kids that it’s ok to feel bad, but then talk about feeling bad and then what do you do to feel better?”
~Diana McWilliams, Acting CEO, New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Women’s Economic Empowerment in New Mexico

Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

New Mexico is a poor state and the burdens of economic inequality fall especially hard on women and girls. We have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation and women make, on average, 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. In New Mexico they are more likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual assault than women elsewhere. And the lack of affordable quality childcare impacts their ability to work.

On the next Public Square, we’ll hear from women who have overcome challenges to start businesses, become homeowners and find economic self-sufficiency. We’ll also hear from advocates in micro lending and asset development about programs that help women take control of their lives.

Community leaders include Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, Jenny Parks, president and CEO of the New Mexico Community Foundation, and former Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish.

Join New Mexico PBS for a PUBLIC SQUARE, where civic dialogue takes center stage. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. PUBLIC SQUARE is hosted & produced by Megan Kamerick.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“I have been broken into many pieces and it’s about figuring out to pull those pieces back together and finding beauty in your own cracks.”
–Dawn Maestas, business owner and domestic violence survivor

“If you give a woman the chance to earn income, she’s going to invest it in her family.”
–Susan Matteucci, executive director of Southwest Creations Collaborative

“The ability to believe in yourself starts early but it’s a very important ingredient in being able to be in charge of your own life–being the architect of your own future.”
–Diane Denish, former lieutenant governor

“If we’re talking about women’s economic empowerment, financial literacy education has got to be a huge, huge part of that.”
–Agnes Noonan, president WESST

“It becomes much easier to maybe go into a job that isn’t worthy of your skills or talent because that job will allow you to leave when your child is sick.”
–Amy Whitfield, President of YWCA New Mexico

“I kind of realized things needed to change when I found myself pinned to the floor in a restaurant with the fellow I was dating at the time with his hands around my throat.”
–Gail Jenkins, business owner and survivor

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

LGBTQ Youth in New Mexico

What are the challenges facing youth and young adults in New Mexico who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer?

Thursday, January 31 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

What are the challenges facing youth and young adults in New Mexico who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer?

Nationally, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) youth are more likely to face verbal and physical harassment at school. They are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. Many face discrimination in their own families and may even end up on the streets.

On the next Public Square, young people in New Mexico’s LGBTQ community share their experiences. And we talk with advocates and community leaders about what we need to do to improve the lives of LGBTQ New Mexicans. In the second half of the program State Senator Cisco McSorley and Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, join the discussion.

Join New Mexico PBS for a PUBLIC SQUARE, where civic dialogue takes center stage. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. PUBLIC SQUARE is hosted & produced by Megan Kamerick.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

[My parents] said “Pack your bags and go. If you want to live like this you can’t be here at all.”
–Jessica Muellers, transgendered youth activist

“Coming out process was a big period of self-hatred and I even contemplated taking my own life at one point because I felt there must have been a demon in me, there must have been something wrong with me.”
–Quela, UNM, LGBTQ Resource Center

“Because I was in a leadership role in other parts of the school they saw I was straight and I was standing up for my friends, so we started hearing a lot less of “That’s so gay.” It has a big, big effect.”
–Ashley Allers

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.