Las Cruces crisis center for children won’t reopen

April 22, 2013 • State News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces children’s crisis center that cited high costs and low enrollment when it temporarily closed in January has announced it will not reopen.

Permanent closure of the Child Crisis Center of [auth] Southern New Mexico was announced Friday, and a medical clinic will now occupy the building, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Monday ( ).

The center, operated by La Pinon Sexual Assault Recovery Services of Southern New Mexico, was intended to provide parents with cost-free respite to prevent abuse or neglect.

The facility opened two years ago after several high-profile child abuse and death cases.

According to the center, it served 110 families and 258 children during its two years of operation.

Grant sources reimbursed the center on a per-child basis. Fewer children meant less reimbursement despite the same overhead costs.

Alfonso Velarde, executive director of the 30-year-old Child Crisis Center of El Paso, said he was shocked at the Las Cruces center’s closure.

However, Velarde said it’s difficult for many parents “to voluntarily come in and say, ‘I need a break.'”

El Paso’s center used a respite model for about 25 years, he said. Now, under his tenure, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services places children there, which is a “more fundable” model, he said.

Velarde said the El Paso facility took in many children from the Las Cruces area before the Las Cruces center was established and will continue to do so “though it’s a longer drive,” he said.

“I’m saddened by the fact that a decision was made to close it down,” he said. “Hopefully, maybe one day, somebody can pick that piece up and attempt to do it again.”

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