Allen Sanchez represents CHI St. Joseph’s Children and the Catholic Church as a lobbyist in Santa Fe. He had an article in today’s Albuquerque Journal that I consider nothing short of outrageous in which he attempts to connect the deaths and abuse of dozens of New Mexico children over the last decade or so to the latest government “solution” to the problem which is tapping the permanent fund to create a system of home visits. He claims offhandedly that “home visiting programs have been proven to prevent child abuse,” but offers zero evidence for that statement.
Indeed, the only evidence Sanchez brings forth is a statement by Dr. Victor Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, “Poverty seems to be the common denominator.” In other words, New Mexico’s lousy economy may be the issue, not some new government program he’s pushing (a point we’ve made in the past).
It all strikes me as, to quote Rahm Emmanuel “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
There is no doubt that New Mexico children face real problems (like the rest of the state). The liberal Voices for Children didn’t even include “home visits” as a factor in its report ranking 49th for children. That said, here is a partial list of all the myriad issues facing New Mexico kids that have NOTHING to do with yet another government program:
2) Breakdown of two parent family;
3) Welfare dependence;
4) Drug abuse;
5) Family culture of abuse;
6) Failing education system;
7) Failing economy/lack of jobs;
8) Social isolation;
9) Failing criminal justice system;
10) Lack of religious faith/participation
These are just a few of the very serious issues that impact New Mexico’s children. Some of them can be fixed rather easily by public policy reforms. Some of them are very difficult to address at all. What do you think? Any additions to the list? It is particularly troubling to me that Sanchez attempts to justify his preferred government program as a simple solution to what by all accounts is a very challenging and multi-faceted problem.