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Let's talk about our child welfare crisis


This year’s legislative session has officially come to an end and when it comes to child welfare the session was uneventful. Several pieces of legislation proposing many solutions ranging – from creating a task force to addressing foster children sleeping in state office buildings to a constitutional amendment to move CYFD out from under the governor – in order to address key issues like lack of transparency at Children, Youth, and Families Department or the little progress made by the agency. This legislation saw little to no movement and a handful were deemed not germane this session.

These issues were highlighted by the Legislative Finance Committee, which issued a report card for CYFD citing that New Mexico consistently ranks among the top six states for repeat maltreatment of children occurring within 12 months of an initial allegation of abuse. Lawmakers throughout the session expressed frustration with the agency, but ultimately allocated almost $18 million dollars in the budget to help recruit, train, and support foster care providers and create evidence-based prevention and intervention services.

On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss what’s next for child welfare in New Mexico. Were you disappointed in this legislative session? What steps do you think need to be taken to improve CYFD? Email letstalk@kunm.org, leave a voice message through the link below, or call in live Thursday morning at 8.


  • Maralyn Beck, founder and executive director, New Mexico Child First Network
  • Teresa Casados, Secretary, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department
  • Crystal Diamond Brantley, state senator, representing Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Luna & Sierra counties
  • Sara Mickelson, Deputy Secretary, New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department
  • Jerry Ortiz y Pino, state senator, representing Bernalillo county


Legislative Finance Committee Performance Report Card: Children, Youth, and Families Department

House Memorial 10 Foster Children Task Force

House Bill 106 Fentanyl Exposure as Child Abuse

Senate Joint Resolution 6 CYFD Commission & Executive Director

Senate confirms Teresa Casados to lead New Mexico child welfare agency - Source NM

Holidays for foster teens: CYFD sends kids to a lockup with cold "cells" and metal beds - Searchlight New Mexico

Court oversight ends for New Mexico child welfare system - Children's Rights

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Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.
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