Resources for Families & Youth

Lujan Grisham administration releases additional summer resources for families

Multi-agency state effort addresses access to food, child care, cultural learning opportunities

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced additional resources for New Mexico families interested in summer youth programming. Through a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Education Department, Early Childhood Education and Care Department, and Children, Youth & Families Department, the state has assembled a comprehensive array of supports for families – including a directory of available programs, online and print resources, child care resources and other materials. 

These resources are available on http://www.newmexico.gov/summer-youth-programs/, along with a full list of COVID-19 Safe Practices for in-person programs.

“Children have always been a top priority of this administration. They must be able to play and learn and eat during the summer, even during the current health crisis. Working together, these state agencies are making sure that happens and happens safely,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. 

CYFD will support food deliveries to communities in need in New Mexico, including tribes and pueblos, throughout the summer. To date, CYFD has led the coordination and distribution of more than 1 million pounds of food and 5.4 million meals throughout the state. 

CYFD will also continue to prioritize outreach and support to children and youth in custody throughout the summer. Staff are working to connect families and foster parents to summer recreational and educational activities for children and families, many offered through the Early Childhood Education and Care Department and the Department of Cultural Affairs, including options for child care in addition to fun activities, books, arts and crafts and science experiments that can be done at home. For older youth and young adults, CYFD will continue to help with access to housing, jobs, apprenticeships, and preparation for fall academic activities.  Increased video and telephonic “visits” with children in foster care and young people previously in CYFD custody who are now living independently will address any emergent needs through the summer months.  

“One thing we’ve seen during this incredibly difficult time has been our staff’s desire to connect more with families and families’ reciprocal engagement as that’s happened,” CYFD Secretary Brian Blalock said. “We’re seeing children and young people trusting more than ever that CYFD is here for them, and that’s helping increase access to supports and helping them thrive. These more frequent and meaningful connections are something we’re looking to continue doing for the long term.” 

CYFD also continues to support telehealth services throughout the summer. People who have benefited from the convenience of increased behavioral health access at home and through the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line and its companion app, NMConnect, will be pleased to know telehealth services are here to stay.

The Early Childhood Education and Care Department will continue to assist families in accessing child care for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age in centers and homes. Families who need care can call New Mexico Kids (1-800-691-9067). ECECD is also working to make state government programming available to child care centers – including DCA’s “bookmobile” program.  

“Supporting families during this public health emergency means striking a balance: providing opportunities for children to learn, grow, and develop, while preventing the spread of the virus.” said Early Childhood Education and Care Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “These resources do just that.” 

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is dedicated to continuing to provide educational, enriching programming to the children of New Mexico and their families throughout the summer. All DCA’s annual Summer Youth Programs will continue in a virtual environment. Exciting events and programs, including the first statewide summer reading program, will be available online. New Mexico’s museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions are creating fun, educational activity kits that will be distributed to families via programs throughout the state. Families can take advantage of the weekly Friday night concert series, Our Fair New Mexico, and a variety of virtual exhibit tours, fun DIY activities, and engaging video content can be found on Visit Virtually. Explore all of DCA’s resources on http://www.NewMexicoCulture.org. Check back often as content is always being added.

“The incredible educators and instructional staff at all of DCA’s divisions have been working hard to bring our state’s rich culture into the homes of all New Mexicans this summer,” said Cultural Affairs Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego, “We are committed to providing hands-on activities and virtual experience to help New Mexico families and children throughout the summer.” 

The Public Education Department determined that it would not be possible to meet the statutory requirements of K-5 Plus for summer 2020.  However, Extended Learning Time Programs may still be possible in August while adhering to public health requirements and best practices. 

The PED encourages school districts to run locally funded, remote, or virtual summer school opportunities. The Summer School 2020 Guidance document published by PED on May 21st offers districts and school leaders resources and considerations based on what has been learned in the shift to remote learning and the research behind summer learning. Recent evidence suggests that expanding summer learning beyond remediation to provide students with rigorous opportunities to preview and practice knowledge and skills aligned to upcoming grade-level standards is effective at bolstering student achievement.  Likewise, providing social and emotional learning supports for students yields benefits in more traditional school contexts. Families are encouraged to check in with their local schools to learn about remote summer program opportunities in their area.  

The PED offers the following resources to families in support of social and emotional well-being:

In addition, Grab and Go meal sites for children will continue operating throughout the summer – and educational, cultural, and social-emotional resources will be available for families at these sites. A site list is available here.

Information for Motorists

SANTA FE— Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an order Monday waiving most late fees and other penalties assessed by the Motor Vehicle Division since March 11, when she first issued a state of emergency for New Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Order 2020-016 requires the Motor Vehicle Division of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department to temporarily waive fees and penalties incurred due to the social distancing recommendations that closed many MVD offices until further notice.

The waiver will continue through the period MVD field offices are closed and for a reasonable period of time after, to be determined by the secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department.

Late fees and other penalties will still apply if they are incurred prior to or after the temporary waiver period.

State Police is further directed, and local law enforcement is encouraged, not to issue citations for registrations or licenses that expire during the waiver period.

“MVD offices have been closed to protect public health. The governor’s action today provides flexibility for customers who are concerned about staying in compliance with New Mexico’s motor vehicle laws,” said Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke.

The waiver applies to motor vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses, and other driver and motor vehicle privileges. The waiver also covers drivers who are required to have a vision or medical report with the MVD.

Motorists are still encouraged to use mvdonline.com to take care of the many MVD transactions that can be completed there, including vehicle registration and license renewals (as long as they are not for first-time Real ID licenses), updating address and insurance information and other services.

The MVD also has set up two email addresses for customers with questions and concerns. One,  MVD.closure@state.nm.us, should be used by customers with general questions. The other, MVD.forseniors@state.nm.us, is dedicated to drivers age 79 and older.

The MVD call center number can be reached at 888-683-4636.

Resources Available for Residents in Need

The Las Cruces City Council has been working to ensure all Las Cruces residents have their basic needs met since they have been impacted by the effects of the statewide Public Health Order caused by COVID-19. Las Cruces City Council approved emergency funding to help Las Cruces residents and businesses with money from The Telshor fund (money the City receives from the lease of Memorial Medical Center that is jointly owned by the City and County) and from the City’s General Fund and distributed it to the following local non-profits and community service providers.   

Residents needing assistance with food, rent, mortgage, or utility payments may contact the following providers:

FOOD ASSISTANCE  

RENT, MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE  

UTILITY ASSISTANCE  

 For more information, call the Community Development Department at (575) 528-3059. 

City of Las Cruces news releases are available on the home page of the City website at las-cruces.org under News & Announcements and can be translated into Spanish and multiple other languages using the Select Language feature on the lower right side of the page.  

New Mexico WIC providing curbside service during COVID-19 pandemic

SANTA FE –The New Mexico Department of Public Health’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program reminds clients all main offices remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, with services modified to a curbside service to limit direct contact and practice social distancing while expediting services.

The WIC program safeguards the health of New Mexico’s low-income pregnant, postpartum and nursing (breastfeeding) women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including nursing promotion and support and referrals to healthcare.

Due to the pandemic, the WIC program is now providing four months of food benefits instead of three to further limit direct contact for services. 

Applicants and participants may request services by contacting local WIC offices, or visiting the NM WIC website, nmwic.org, and requesting an appointment using the Contact Us page. WIC staff will reply to applicants/participants to schedule appointments to provide curbside service, or existing participants may keep their regularly scheduled appointments and follow posted instructions when arriving at the clinic. 

WIC staff are providing appointment information via phone and text and are working to process as much as possible before applicants/participants arrive at the clinics. Required documentation such as income, NM residency, and personal ID are requested and delivered electronically when possible, and some can be taken verbally. Those without internet access can still bring documentation, which will then be reviewed by utilizing recommended safety precautions. Applicants/participants that require a full nutrition assessment will be advised if the process can be waived and/or collected during the initial phone call.

Upon arrival at any WIC clinic, applicants/participants will see clear signs directing them to stay in their vehicles and to call the clinic’s WIC number. WIC staff will instruct applicants/participants on next steps depending on the appointment type. Most of the appointment communication takes place via two-way texting or phone and exchange of documents, ID verification, and WIC EBT cards is handled in a safe manner, maintaining the recommended personal protection equipment and social distancing protocols. 

If participants do not have access to a smart phone, transportation, or encounter other challenges, they are welcomed to contact the local WIC clinic, visit the NM WIC website, or call the Customer Service Hotline (866-867-3124), and WIC staff will provide options for providing needed benefits. Some options include completing services via phone and mailing EBT cards in some cases. The hotline is available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 Families who want to apply for WIC services should: 

  • Live in the state of New Mexico
  • Include one or more of these individuals:
  • a person who is currently pregnant
  • a person who is nursing (breastfeeding) a baby under one year of age
  • a person who had a baby or was pregnant in the last six months
  • a baby who is less than one year old
  • a child who is less than five years old

Applicants should also meet income guidelines for the number of family members.

If someone in your family received income in the last 30 days, that income may be considered. (During the COVID-19 situation, families with the recent loss of income due to layoff/furlough/closure may qualify with proof of job loss.)

Eligibility for Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamps), TANF (Cash Assistance), and/or FDPIR could mean that your family already meets WIC income guidelines. Please let the WIC clinic know if anyone in your family is eligible for any of these programs.

If any processes are changed due to the COVID-19 situation, WIC will inform participants via text message and phone contact, and changes are posted as they happen on thewww.nmwic.org website. For more information about COVID-19 visit the New Mexico Department of Health dedicated webpage to include the latest COVID-19-related news, statewide screening, and test sites and more at https://cv.nmhealth.org/.

Mental Health Resources

We are amid an unprecedented public health crisis, yet we also have an extraordinary opportunity to come together within our families and communities to reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental health. Learn more here: https://afsp.org/campaigns/covid-19/

Take a Mental Health Test

Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal. (The City of Las Cruces does not endorse this organization or others present on the site, but is providing access as a public service.) https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools?ref=Covid

Report Child Abuse/Neglect

Report the matter immediately to CYFD’s Statewide Central Intake child abuse hotline (1-855-333-7233)or #SAFE from a cell phone. If you are experiencing a behavioral health crisis please call N.M. Crises and Access line: 1-855-662-7474. The peer-to-peer warm line is 1-855-466-7100

Children Youth and Families 

Care Resources includes where to search for Childcare, a provider list, provider supplies, and food request information, as well as information on becoming an emergency temporary childcare provider. https://www.newmexicokids.org/

Las Cruces Public Schools

Las Cruces Public Schools is working with community resources to continue meal service and mental health resources, and employees have been assured that they will be paid as if there were no shutdown. State requirements for instructional hours will be waived so classroom days missed because of the shutdown will not have to be made up later. Also, between March 16 through April 6, LCPS will provide grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at seven locations: Please call 575/527-5800 (LCPS Administration) for more information. http://www.lcps.net/LCPS/SchoolsAddressMealService.html?fbclid=IwAR2Ru-RZu7pj1BfNskcUt-q3CYUz1yskoxTVuGROPJ5vcVIEBmFOe_oAMYg

LCPS Addresses COVID-19 Video From 6 p.m., March 12 meeting (Content begins at 13:30)

Financial resources due to loss of income or employment

Dona Ana County has several assistance programs to help you get financial assistance. There Government programs that offer grants to help with rent or medical bills, daycare or benefits such as SNAP food stamps, cash aid for paying bills, and much more. https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/dona_ana_county_assistance_pro.html 

Guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19

Today, more students, families, and school staff than ever before are experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety, and isolation, and will need mental health support. This page will be updated regularly with information and resources for supporting student and community mental health during COVID-19. https://www.trailstowellness.org/materials/resources/covid-19-resources

The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry has put together a curated set of resources with a particular emphasis on materials that will be of use to providers and those they serve. https://www.massgeneral.org/psychiatry/guide-to-mental-health-resources/

Food Assistance

While New Mexico public schools remain closed, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told reporters Friday, March 16th the state will provide meals, child care and job assistance to mitigate the impact on parents. Here is a list of free meal distribution sites in the Doña Ana area https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/2020/03/16/free-meal-distribution-sites-lcps-fyi-and-roadrunner-food-bank/5065168002/

Below is a meal distribution site map to help find locations around our community.

Housing Assistance

The Landlord/Tenant Relations Handbook is a useful guide for both renters and landlords to know their rights and responsibilities under the New Mexico Uniform Owner-Residents Relations Act, more commonly known as the “Landlord-Tenant Law.” https://www.las-cruces.org/DocumentCenter/View/729/Landlord-Tenant-Relations-Handbook---English-PDF. Please call (575) 528-3086 for more assistance.

Transportation Assistance

City of Las Cruces RoadRUNNER Transit bus rides and Dial-a-Ride will be fare-free until further notice to reduce per to person contact and exchange of money with transit employees. Please call Transit Customer Service at (575) 541-2500 for more information on routes.

Utilities

City utilities customers are encouraged to utilize other methods to pay their bills, such as paying bills online, instead of going to City Hall (700 N. Main Street) or the East Mesa Customer Service Center (5195 Bataan Memorial West). This is to limit the spread of potential illness through person-to-person contact. Sign up for auto-draft by emailing utilities customer service staff at customerservice@las-cruces.org. Or customers can deposit payments (no cash please), in the drop box located between City Hall and Thomas Branigan Memorial Library they can pay by phone with credit or debit card by calling 866-426-9757, pay online at https://selfservicelp.las-cruces.org/css/citizens/UtilityBilling/Default.aspx with debit or credit card or entering requested checking account information to pay by e-check, pay with Online bill pay with your bank’s online bill pay service, or by mail. Checks or money orders can be mailed to: 

  • City of Las Cruces
  • Attn: Cashiers
  • P.O. Box 20000
  • Las Cruces, NM 88004

They may also pay in person with cash at the following Western Union location: (There is a $1 fee for this service.) Lowes #57, 2180 N. Main St.; Lowes #58, 1410 Missouri Ave.: and Mr. Payroll, 2240 Missouri Ave.

The East Mesa Customer Service Center, 5195 Bataan Memorial West, will accept all payment types. The Las Cruces Utilities Center, 680 N. Motel Blvd. is closed.

Assistance programs offered by Las Cruces Utilities include calling Customer Central, at 575/541-2111; Payment Plan Agreements; Preferred Payment Date; Budget Payment Plans; Promise To Pay; Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program; and Referral to Charitable Fund Sources; and Las Cruces Utilities’ Bill Assistance Program. If you have questions, please contact Las Cruces Utilities Customer Service at (575) 541-2111.

Information about canceled city programs

Communications Office 575-541-2200

For more information call Main City Information Line 575-541-2000

Casa de Peregrinos

Our programs help to provide supplemental, nutritional groceries to hungry and food-insecure families in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, augmenting government programs such as the Women, Infant and Children’s food program (WIC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). On the web at: https://www.casadeperegrinos.org/

Located at 999 W. Amador Ave. Suite F (Community of Hope Campus)

Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

You will need a photo ID and proof of address.

We do not discriminate against race, religion, or sexual orientation. 

We do rely on donations and volunteers to serve our community, please support us so we can continue to serve those families in need.