New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) has been heavily scrutinized for the constant failures in the Department to protect children overseen and in the care of the state.
With no oversight mechanisms in place at CYFD, many children have tragically died or been harmed while in the system.
The Journal writes, “More than 40% of children in New Mexico who had a substantiated serious injury from physical abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2022 came from families who had a prior involvement with the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department in the preceding 12 months, according to new state data.”
The LFC report notes that CYFD “continues to underperform on targets for repeat maltreatment, maltreatment of foster care children, and serious injuries after protective services involvement.”
“New Mexico’s rates for repeat maltreatment are among the worst in the nation,” it continues.
Kicking the can down the road and attempting to remain blameless, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s CYFD Secretary Barbara Vigil said of the report, “Our underperformance is a condition of systemic challenges that have manifested over many years.”
The LFC added in the report, “Prevention and early intervention is key to reducing repeat child maltreatment.”
One of the assessments from CYFD’s release noted, “A recent CYFD workforce development plan and survey noted that protective services staff ranked workload, self-care, and compensation as the most pressing challenges facing staff. Another highly ranked challenge was related to organizational factors with many respondents feeling that rules, policies, and procedures are not interpreted and applied consistently.”
It is unclear in upcoming legislative sessions if there will be meaningful reform made to CYFD. Previous oversight measures carried by Republicans and passed by wide margins have repeatedly failed to pass — leaving children at continued risk due to heavy staff workload, lack of accountability and performance metrics of the department set far too low.