Eli Hager | ProPublica

Eli Hager is a reporter covering issues affecting children and teens in the Southwest. He joined ProPublica from the Marshall Project, where as a staff writer for six years he focused primarily on juvenile justice, family court, foster care, schools and other issues affecting youth. A two-time Livingston Award finalist and three-time finalist for the Education Writers Association’s national award, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Guardian, New York Magazine, USA Today, NPR and elsewhere. Most recently, his investigation of “short-stayers” in New Mexico — kids taken from their families by police and placed in foster care only to be returned days later because the removal was unnecessary — helped prompt legislation that will require social workers, not cops, to perform all child removals. Hager is based in Phoenix.

New Mexico has lost track of juveniles locked for life. We found nearly two dozen.

By: - March 13, 2023

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. The New Mexico Corrections Department has lost track of nearly two dozen prisoners in its custody who are serving life sentences for crimes they committed as children, an error that could keep […]

Southwestern states make changes to welfare after ProPublica investigations

By: - March 16, 2022

Across the Southwest, states are reconsidering how they approach welfare, with several legislatures enacting or considering new laws to ensure that more assistance is made available to low-income families struggling to afford rent, child care, groceries and diapers. The moves follow months of ProPublica reporting on punitive and outdated welfare policies in this part of […]


Welfare is no substitute for a child tax credit

By: - March 4, 2022

Those in Congress who are blocking President Biden’s proposed child tax credit — a monthly federal stipend for families with children of up to $300 per child — have been making a curious claim of late. They’ve been saying that there is already a highly effective cash assistance program for low-income parents and kids: Temporary […]

Head of New Mexico child support agency asks state to stop intercepting payments to poor families

By: - December 14, 2021

The head of New Mexico’s child support enforcement agency last week called for the state to end its practice of intercepting child support payments and tax refunds headed to poor mothers and children — which the state claims as repayment to the government for welfare the moms received in the past — a practice revealed […]

These Single Moms Are Forced to Choose: Reveal Their Sexual Histories or Forfeit Welfare

By: - September 22, 2021

Amberly Sanchez had a job as an accountant at a real estate company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she was laid off due to the pandemic. Then an electrical fire destroyed her apartment building, forcing her and her 16-month-old daughter Avery to stay in a $400-a-week motel. She’d lost everything, from parenting essentials — crib, […]