- On April 10, 2014
- In Press Release
- By --
- 0 Comments
What began as a conversation in my office in Santa Fe, in only a few short months has received the full support and backing of CFYD and the Governor.
I want to thank the Governor, CYFD, Law Enforcement and other State & Local officials who have made this project a priority.
State of New Mexico
Office of the Governor
For Immediate Release April 4, 2014
Governor Susana Martinez Establishes Child Advocacy Center Pilot Program in Valencia County
Los Lunas – Governor Susana Martinez this week signed an executive order establishing a child advocacy center pilot program in Valencia County to enable better coordination between CYFD caseworkers, law enforcement, and community partners who work on child maltreatment cases. Child advocacy centers house a variety of non-profit and public partners all dedicated to supporting children who have been victims of abuse; they can include law enforcement officers, child forensic interviewers, sexual assault nurse examiners, various social service organizations, and child abuse caseworkers.
This model of bringing together a diverse team of trained and dedicated professions will help keep more of our children safe.’ Said Governor Martinez. “Emphasizing the team approach will help improve communication and information sharing, so these professionals can better protect the children and families they serve”
Valencia County is one of the highest-risk and highest-need areas of the state for child welfare services; the Governor’s executive order directs state agencies to establish and staff a child advocacy center in Los Lunas, where the Henry Perea Building has been identified as a suitable location and local partners exist to help provide comprehensive child welfare services.
Additionally, Governor Martinez has directed CYFD to work with local partners in other New Mexico communities to identify areas where it would be feasible and helpful to establish additional child advocacy centers.
Governor Martinez recently announced numerous proposals to improve the well-being of New Mexico’s children and the investigation of the child abuse incident. These initiatives and directives are designed to improve communication between CYFD and law enforcement, better work with families who have faced multiple investigations and recruit and retain more CYFD caseworkers. In this same vein, the Governor will continue to fight for legislation that would allow a court to order counseling services and interventions for families who frequently interact with CYFD. The legislation failed to pass in the recently concluded legislative session.
WHEREAS, the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is charged with providing leadership to other agencies that serve children, youth and families to ensure a coordinated and integrated system of care and services;
WHEREAS, the Protective Services Division (PSD) of CYFD is the Stae of New Mexico’s designated child welfare agency;
WHEREAS, the mission of PSD is to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of children and, also, to help families by strengthening the ability of parents, guardians, or custodians to provide safe and supportive care for their children, including critical access to services that promote safe and stable homes for children;
WHEREAS, the development and use of child advocacy centers nationwide is an approach where many different stakeholders are able to work together to improve the delivery of child welfare services to children and their families through a coordinated effort;
WHEREAS, the ability of PSD to achieve its mission and to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of children is greatly enhanced when there is a coordinated and multi-disciplinary approach taken to address child welfare, with county, local, and state stakeholders including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies, and government and non-profit education, health, mental health, and social service providers;
WHEREAS, the delivery of services through child advocacy center is also capable of dramatically reducing the stress and trauma placed on children and their families who are receiving child welfare services;
WHEREAS, the development and implementation of child advocacy centers provides an opportunity for both PSD and stakeholders to offer a wide range of services under the same roof based on the individualized and local needs of children and their families residing in a specific location;
WHEREAS, the use of child advocacy centers allows for daily, continual interaction and communication between the law enforcement officers and CYFD caseworkers who both work to investigate child abuse incidents;
WHEREAS, the Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center in Bernalillo County allows an opportunity for CYFD to collaborate and provide for the coordinated delivery of resources to children and their families;
WHEREAS, there is a high per capita rate of child abuse or neglect investigations in Valencia County and, as such, it is in the interest of promoting child welfare in Valencia County if a child advocacy center pilot program is implemented to provide for the coordinated delivery of services to children and their families;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Susana Martinez, Governor of the State of New Mexico, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of New Mexico, do hereby declare that child advocacy centers are capable of improving the delivery of child welfare services and dramatically reducing the stress and trauma placed on abused and neglected children and their families by providing them with a wide range of support services at a single location.
I DIRECT that CYFD permanently transfer a team of PSD investigators to the Family Advocacy Center in Albuquerque to improve communication between CYFD and law enforcement and assist children and their families in receiving PSD services.
I DIRECT that CYFD coordinate with state, local, and non-profit stakeholders in Valencia County and implement, as a pilot program, a child advocacy center to better serve the needs of children and their families through the coordinated delivery of services.
I DIRECT that the General Services Department and the Human Services Department work with CYFD to obtain suitable office space in Valencia County to accommodate CYFD and stakeholders in implementing, as a pilot program, a child advocacy center.
I FURTHER DIRECT that CYFD coordinate with state, local, and non-profit stakeholders including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies, and government and non-profit education, health, mental health, and social service providers to determine the need for and potentially implement, subject to available resources, additional child advocacy centers throughout the State of New Mexico.
THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER supersedes any other previous orders, proclamations, or directives to the extent they are in conflict. It shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until such time as the Governor rescinds it. It is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the State, its agencies, instrumentalities, entities, officers, employees, agents, or any other person.
SIGNED AT THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE THIS 4TH DAY OF APRIL, 2014. WITNESS MY HAND AND THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO.
SUSANA MARTINEZ GOVERNOR