Foster Youth Honored at Graduation Celebration


ALBUQUERQUE -– Today, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Secretary Yolanda Deines joined CYFD social workers and Molina Healthcare of New Mexico employees to celebrate youth who are currently in CYFD foster care or who have been emancipated from foster care, that have recently completed their GED, earned their high school diploma, or have completed milestones in their post-secondary education. A total of 21 youth were recognized during today’s celebration.

“We are very proud of these youth and it is important that we recognize their great accomplishments,” said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines. “These students have overcome difficult circumstances so we really want to celebrate their successes and let them know we are behind them all the way.”

Youth in foster care often don’t have the same opportunities as youth in typical families. Nationally, only 2-3% of youth who emancipate from foster care complete college.

Molina Healthcare of New Mexico hosted the special graduation party at its office with decorations, food, music and goodie bags filled with prizes which were donated.

“The graduation celebration was a great opportunity to recognize these individuals for their hard work,” said Foster and Adoptive Parent Liaison Sarah Palmer. “We are very grateful to Molina Healthcare of New Mexico for their support and generosity in hosting this wonderful celebration.”
Some of the youth at today’s event are currently in foster care and others have been through CYFD’s foster care system and are now getting assistance through the department’s TRANSITIONS program, which offers a permanent home to teens that have “aged out” of the foster care system and are between the ages of 18 and 21.

The TRANSITIONS program is a team effort made possible through a partnership with the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative, the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico and the State Single Entity. The project provides independent, safe and affordable housing in the Albuquerque area. It is currently available to 20 young adults who meet the eligibility requirements and the participants must be referred by their CYFD transition worker, screened by the TRANSITIONS Steering Committee and complete a housing orientation.