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CYFD officials discuss transparency efforts

 Children's statue at State Capitol
Kevin Meerschaert
Children's statue at State Capitol

In a media roundtable on Tuesday afternoon, Children Youth and Family Services officials spoke about continuing efforts the department is undertaking to ensure more transparency internally and with the public.

During the discussion, officials also shared a new website they are launching soon that showcases different metrics relevant to the department.

Featured on this new site, called togetherwethrivenm.org, statistics like different housing situations children are in, the number of individuals applying to become foster parents and the current number of children in state custody, which now sits at 1,744.

Information on the number of department vacancies, pending investigations and allegations against CYFD can also be found on the website as well.

According to statistics shared, the department is facing a high turnover rate, which Acting Secretary Teresa Casados said is something they are looking to address in the future.

“We get people in and they're good, but it’s a really difficult job dealing with those kids that have seen trauma and parents who are also traumatized, it weighs on those individuals. So another approach that we’re taking is making sure that we are finding the right people to fill those positions, but also ensuring that we are supporting the staff that we have and getting them the resources they need to be able to do their jobs.”

Casados said she is planning on meeting with employees around the state in the coming weeks to discuss with them the resources they feel they need to continue to do their work within the department.

Another issue she plans on addressing was the concern among CYFD employees that there is currently no career ladder available to them with the department.

This is something Cadados said she will also work on to help make sure state employees will stay on with them for the length of their careers.

One position that has been drumming up little interest is the job of cabinet secretary, something Casados  attributed to the reputation the department currently has.

In order to change this stigma the department currently has, Casados said the department has held and will be holding what they call “rebuilding roundtables'' with community members.

One held in Albuquerque last month tackled the reimbursement process that many providers were seeking.

It was also shared that CYFD completed reimbursement payments to over 900 providers in a two week period from the end of April to May.

The department paid out over $200,000 in reimbursement payments.

Officials from CYFD will also be hitting the road next month to hold community roundtable discussions in Las Cruces on June 21st and in Roswell on June 22nd.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, he found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in multimedia journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. In addition to working at KSFR, Gino is a freelance photojournalist and can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the NA3HL New Mexico Ice Wolves.