September 30, 2019

LOS LUNAS, NM—Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas) sent a letter to New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Secretary Brian Blalock asking why his agency has not yet convened a task force to examine New Mexico’s Child Protective Services as directed by the Legislature. Earlier this year, the Legislature unanimously approved House Joint Memorial 10, legislation that ordered the creation of the task force in response to several cases of New Mexico children dying as a result of abuse in recent years. Fajardo co-sponsored the memorial along with Reps. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences), Patricio Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque), and Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena).

Fajardo wrote, “[T]he clock is running on this effort. We are just one year away from the reporting deadline, and the task force members have not even been named. These appointees will have less than a year to meet, collect input and data, analyze it, and produce a report. The longer it takes to seat this task force, the less time we are giving them to fulfill the intent of the memorial and protect New Mexico’s children. The delay in starting this task force is shortchanging the process and our state’s most vulnerable kids.”

She added, “New Mexico’s foster families are the unsung heroes of our Child Protective Service system, and they are watching this process very closely. Many of them personally advocated for this memorial during the legislative session. Their efforts were supposed to be acknowledged by the governor during a recent picnic held in their honor at the Governor’s Mansion. Unfortunately, the governor did not show up to the event, causing many in the foster family community to question her administration’s commitment to them and improving conditions for the children placed in their care. Please do not let these families down by cheating this task force of the time they need to do a credible job in repairing our broken child protection services.”

A copy of the letter is attached.