New Mexico spends heavily to help traumatized children

(Stock Image/MGN)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new state report finds New Mexico is spending enormous amounts of money to treat a relatively small number of children for trauma, depression and substance abuse in potentially ineffective ways.

A summary of the report from multiple state agencies shows average per-child costs of $60,000 a year to treat some patients with acute conditions at psychiatric hospitals and other away-from-home treatment facilities. Those residential treatment programs often provide little evidence of their effectiveness, while certain community-based services have shown they work better at less expense.

Full findings from legislative analysts, the Human Services Department and the Children Youth and Families Department were scheduled for release Wednesday in front of state lawmakers.

Some of the most expensive behavior health cases involve post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit problems and bipolar disorder.