Senate Republicans Applaud Passage of "Children First" Child Advocate Bill
SANTA FE — Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Senate Bill 373 with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill, introduced by Senator David Gallegos (R-Eunice) and Senator Crystal Diamond (R-Elephant Butte), creates an independent accountability office for the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) housed in the Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the Child Advocate would among other things review systemic issues in CYFD, receive complaints, make appropriate referrals, and investigate complaints.
“Senate Republicans remain committed to tackling the ongoing crisis at CYFD,” said Senator Gallegos. “This administration has been unwilling or unable to hold themselves accountable for the children lost on their watch. The endangered children of our state need immediate help and we cannot wait for CYFD to sort their own issues out.”
Attorney General Raul Torrez testified earlier today in favor of the mirror bill, House Bill 11, and offered to front the cost of the office for the first year to ensure there are no conflicts with the budgeting process. House Bill 11 passed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and now heads to the House Floor.
“The best the Governor has proposed so far is a bureaucratic reshuffling of the department,” added Senator Diamond. “That is not going to fix the systemic problems that exist and I am grateful that the Attorney General and my colleagues support this vital bill.”