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The politics of child abuse

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By Hal Rhodes

If any one person deserves credit for the creation of New Mexico’s Department of Children, Youth and Families it must surely be Alice King, wife of the state’s longest serving (12 years) governor, Bruce King.
Alice and Bruce King are now deceased, and more’s the pity.
But during their three (non-consecutive) terms in Santa Fe it was widely understood that the governor not only cherished his wife, he trusted her judgment and valued her counsel.
In the early years Mrs. King publicly feigned to be little more than the traditional “First Lady” — wife, mother, help-mate.
One year into Bruce King’s final term as governor, however, Alice King came into her own by putting her experience and political savvy to the task of consolidating various programs critical to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children and young people that, despite good intentions, frequently languished throughout the far-flung agencies of state government.
In 1992, that consolidation became the single, cabinet-level department we know today as Children, Youth and Families, CYFD, focused on issues central of New Mexico life.


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