Tune in for the new season premiere of KNME’s Public Square on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. on Channel 5.1. Funding for Public Square is provided in part by a new, two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Public Square is a part of KNME’s commitment to community engagement through meaningful dialogue.  Each month, the show allows for a substantive dialogue between citizens and state and local leaders. KNME’s goal is to establish Public Square as an integral component of its community service to New Mexico.

In this episode, Public Square discusses “Improving Child Well-Being” in New Mexico, which was just ranked 49th in the country on child well-being by the Kids Count Survey. That translates into major costs as they grow up, including more teen pregnancies, dropouts, poverty and crime. What would it take to improve those numbers and ensure our children have a better future?

Public Square brings together a family in need, advocates and experts in early childhood for a candid, and often challenging, solution-based conversation. Community leaders include State Senators Sue Wilson Beffort, Jerry Ortiz y Pino and John Sapien, as well as Jennifer Padgett, deputy secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department, and Leighann Lenti, deputy secretary of the Public Education Department. 

The impetus to focus more resources on children in their early years is steadily growing nationwide and in New Mexico as research on brain development reveals how crucial those early years are to building cognitive, emotional and social skills. State policymakers have steadily increased the amount of money going into early childhood programs, yet the percentage of children these programs are reaching remains small.

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Media Contact: Evy Todd (505) 277- 1218, email: etodd@newmexicopbs.org