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Governor Signs Executive Order To Overhaul New Mexico CYFD

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs Executive Order on Thursday.
Kevin Meerschaert
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs Executive Order on Thursday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed an Executive Orderto make major changes to the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department.

The Governor says the current system is broken and there needs to be substantial changes in how things function in all aspects of the department.

The order requires immediate changes in how the CYFD operates and sets out a long-term vision for how the department will strengthen its practices.  

Lujan Grisham says along with Department Secretary Barbara Vigil, they will be setting in motion immediate and meaningful action to transform how the state’s most vulnerable children and families are going to be served.      

“The number one priority of that department is protecting children and improving their well-being,” the Governor said. “That is not what’s occurring in the State of New Mexico in the way that either the secretary or I want. Our expectation is that that gets shifted quickly, expediently and immediately.”

Some of the changes being ordered include elevating the divisions needing the most attention including Protective Services, Juvenile Justice and Emergency Health and Behavioral Services.

It empowers staff to provide every child who needs a placement in an emergency to focus on making sure every child has a safe, stable place to stay.     

It will bring in voices from every area of the child welfare community so they can be part of the rebuilding of the department and provide another layer of accountability.

It also will create an Office of Innovation that identifies and brings best practices from around the country to New Mexico.