Sen. Linda Lopez
NM SENATE News:
SANTA FE—Representatives from the state Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) chose not to attend a Monday morning Senate Rules Committee hearing, which they were invited to, on a high-profile Senate Memorial regarding foster families, child abuse and children’s protective services.
“One of Gov. Susana Martinez’s favorite buzz words is ‘unacceptable,’ and I wonder if she will once again find it unacceptable that her own appointees running the Children, Youth and Families Department chose not to answer questions regarding a bill that directly pertains to them,” Sen. Linda M. Lopez, D-Bernalillo said. “I find it totally unacceptable – and disrespectful – that the executive feels answering to the Legislature is not part of their duty.”
The Senate Rules Committee was reviewing Senate Joint Memorial 3 “CYFD Foster Care Reports to the Legislature,” sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Bernalillo.
The memorial would require CYFD to provide reports to the Legislature about its policies and practices regarding foster families, placement and follow-up, as well as issues related to protective services division operations. CYFD policy and leadership has come into question recently after last month’s killing of a nine-year-old by his mother, both of whom were part of a previous child abuse investigation by CYFD.
“CYFD not showing up to today’s meeting is such a disservice to the public,” Lopez said. “This sets a very dangerous precedent in our government. When appointed leaders decide that they are not accountable to the checks and balances of our system, it is a clear indication that they also feel they are not accountable to the public.”