- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) - A pilot program aimed at helping families prevent child maltreatment is expanding to six New Mexico counties.

Gov. Susana Martinez announced the $1 million expansion of the family support worker program during a visit to Los Lunas on Monday.

Martinez says working with high-risk families and providing proper support will keep children safe and promote healthy, loving homes and families.

The support program is a community-based service that works with families in their homes and neighborhoods to help them meet the basic needs of their children and prevent child maltreatment and abuse.

The program is administered through local community providers based on referrals from the state Children, Youth and Families Department.

Martinez on Monday also urged lawmakers to enact tougher penalties for those convicted of assaulting or battering caseworkers.

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