Molina Healthcare Throws Graduation Party for Foster Teens



Graduating CYFD students Alexandria Hill, Leona Chavez and Shantelle Gallegos thanks the crowd at their graduation party as CYFD Secretary Yolanda Deines looks on proudly.

ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) social workers and Molina Healthcare of New Mexico employees recently celebrated the high school graduation of a group of teens who were raised in the CYFD foster care program.

“The party was an opportunity to recognize these teens for graduating high school or getting their GEDs while in the foster care system,” said Sarah Palmer, foster and adoptive parent liaison for CYFD. “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.”

Molina hosted the special graduation party at its office building with decorations, food, music and goodie bags filled with prizes. Molina also donated Wal-Mart gift cards to the CYFD, which then CYFD gave back to the new graduates.

The teens 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 who 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.