Senate Republicans Call for Accountability and Action in Letter to CYFD Secretary
SANTA FE – Today, Senate Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia), Senator David Gallegos (District 41-Eddy and Lea), and Senator Crystal Diamond (District 35-Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra) sent a letter to Child, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Secretary Barbara Vigil, calling for greater accountability and action within the department. The letter comes on the heels of horrific allegations of a departmental cover up, negligence, gaslighting of caseworkers, and consistent failure of the department to stop the death and abuse of our state's most vulnerable children.
“Anger, frustration, and sadness—that is how I would describe what it has been like to see such apathy in light of the horrendous reports of what is happening at CYFD,” said Senator David Gallegos. “I do not know what it will take for this department and this administration to take responsibility for their failures. The least they can do is get behind legislation to deliver independent oversight. We need options for intervention since this department seems unwilling to make drastic changes on their own.”
In 2022, Senator Gallegos was a cosponsor of legislation to create an independent ombudsman office to investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of children placed in the CYFD custody. The bill was publicly opposed by CYFD and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's office, and tabled by Senate Democrats.
“Yet again, this Governor remains apathetic to the evil happening right under her nose,” said Senate Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca. “It was this Governor who said on the campaign trail regarding CYFD that 'we must hold our partners, our leaders, and ourselves accountable.' Well, Governor, it is long overdue that you step up and hold your partners, your department, and yourself accountable for the death and abuse happening under your administration.”
“We are not asking for something unattainable. All the people of New Mexico want is a straight answer on who or what is responsible for this department's failure and how they are going to fix it. If the administration and CYFD are not willing to provide that answer to us, then the people deserve an advocate responsible for hand holding this department to ensure they do their job,” added Senator Crystal Diamond.
The letter to Secretary Vigil is attached below.