Army Community Service recently welcomed Cynthia Valenzuela as the new Family Advocacy Program Manager at White Sands Missile Range.

Valenzuela said she plans to put a lot of emphasis on education, prevention and awareness while working with families on post. "I will also be focusing in the areas of domestic violence and child abuse."

A Licensed Master Social Worker, Valenzuela said that according to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims.

Talking about child abuse, Valenzuela said child abuse involves several forms to include: neglect, physical injuries, psyche trauma, and deprivation of medical care.

She said it is important to have the Family Advocacy Program because victims need a voice and sometimes victims and children don't have a voice.

"If you are being hurt or abused, emotionally or physically, you need that support from someone on the outside," Valenzuela said. "You need someone who will say to you 'I've got you'. Together we can try to help those victims and encourage them to seek help."

Patricia Gomez, Director, Army Community Service, said the position had been vacant since September 2017 and it is great to have someone back in that slot.

"ACS hasn't been able to offer stress management, anger management, parenting or other classes.
We have been bare bones when it came to awareness campaigns too," Gomez said. "We owe the
WSMR community a robust Family Advocacy Program and we will be able to offer that with the addition of Ms. Valenzuela."

As the FAPM Valenzuela's role is to maintain a working relationship with local agencies, such as CYFD, La PiƱon, and La Casa to ensure those involved in domestic violence and child abuse/neglect have access to resources that are available in the surrounding community.

As a new government employee Valenzuela said is still learning the culture, about the programs on post and the acronyms.

Born and raised in Las Cruces, Valenzuela has lived and worked in the area. Her last job was working in the areas of early intervention and family therapy for over three years in Dona Ana County and the surrounding areas.

Valenzuela said her priority is to get out there and let the families know that she is here to help.
In her previous job she worked in the area of early intervention for children that were either at risk for environmental delay, medical delay, or they had a developmental delay.

"Several of the cases were due to neglect, so I would work as the family therapist to help with parenting skills and education in age appropriate milestones."

One message Valenzuela wants to put out there is that she is not here to judge. "We are here to help."

As far as her plans go, Valenzuela said she plans to get out there in the community and get some of the classes started again - such as anger management and stress management classes. She also wants to do outreach.

Valenzuela said it is important for individuals to know that self-referral is highly recommended. Children are often abused by those closes to them to include a parent, a caregiver or another child or adolescent.

"If individuals feel like they have been victims of abuse or neglect, whether it be emotional, physical, sexual, financial and digital, we encourage people to come in."

As she gets to know the community, Valenzuela said being at WSMR takes her back in time. "It is its own little village, I would consider living here."

For more information contact ACS by stopping by at Building 250 or by calling (575) 678-2018 and (575) 678-6767. You can also contact WSMR's local 24 hour hotline number at (575) 993-7413 or the National 24 hour hotline at 1-800-799-7233.