CYFD Office of Children’s Rights

About us:

Graphical representation of three youth sitting on gavel block.

Launched in 2021, the Office of Children’s Rights offers children and youth in foster care services and support, including:

  • Immigration Rights: consultation, referrals, representation, language access  
  • Education Rights & Advocacy: support with schools, collaborations with school staff, school stability, and special education rights 
  • Disability Rights: public benefits advocacy, family placements, and accommodations   
  • Youth Grievances: process for violations of the Foster Child and Youth Bill of Rights

The Office of Children’s Rights also promotes the rights of children and families in New Mexico by supporting social justice advocacy through inclusion, equity, LGBTQ rights, access to reproductive health services and trauma-responsive behavioral health services, and a family-centered approach by identifying innovative and transformative approaches to child welfare reform.

 

Our Mission:

To respond to the urgent need in New Mexico to improve the lives of vulnerable children by breaking down barriers to access and ensuring that children receive all state and federal services they are entitled.

 

New Mexico Foster Child and Youth Bill of Rights:

All New Mexico children and youth who are in foster care have rights.

These rights apply to children and youth that live with foster parents (resource parents) and out-of-home placements, like group homes and residential facilities.

The Foster Child and Youth Bill of Rights have 29 rights that were created to protect child and youth in foster care.

 

How to File a Complaint:

Filing a complaint is simple.

If you are a foster child or youth and believe your rights have been violated, contact our office (call or text) at 505-228-6797 or email us at CYFD.YouthGrievance@cyfd.nm.gov. Adults can also contact our office on behalf of children and youth. Once you reach out to us, we will respond within about 24 hours to discuss.

Be sure to remember the event.

Writing it down can help.

What happened?

Where did it happen?

When did it happen?

Who was involved?

What rights were violated?

 

Graphic of four ovals. The first saying 1. Call, text or email with a complaint/grievance. 2. Office of children’s rights will contact you to review the proccess 3. We will investigate and determine if resolution can be through informal or three-person panel review. 4. Will process findings and recommendations.
Graphic of four ovals. The first saying 1. Call, text or email with a complaint/grievance. 2. Office of children’s rights will contact you to review the proccess 3. We will investigate and determine if resolution can be through informal or three-person panel review. 4. Will process findings and recommendations.

 

I Want to Learn More.

If you want to learn more (or receive free training) about the Children and Youth Bill of Rights, you can contact our office at 505-228-6797 or email us at cyfd.ocr@cyfd.nm.gov.

 

Additional Resources:

 

New Mexico Foster Child & Youth Bill of Rights

  1. To be informed of your rights in foster care by your caseworker and to receive a list of those rights in written form
  2. To have your privacy protected and your right to confidentiality adhered to, as outlined in the New Mexico Children’s Code.
  3. To be explained why you came into foster care and why you are still in foster care by a representative of CYFD.
  4. To be free from physical, sexual, emotional or other abuse, including corporal punishment.
  5. To stay safe and avoid exploitation.
  6. To advocate for yourself and to speak to persons involved with your case without negative repercussions.
  7. To make a report to Statewide Central Intake (1-800-797-3260) if you feel you are being abused and/or neglected.
  8. To be represented by a guardian ad litem or youth attorney in all judicial matters (hearings and mandatory meetings) conducted in your abuse/neglect case so that your interests are safeguarded; to attend and participate in all court hearings as coordinated through your attorney.
  9. To be informed of how to contact your caseworker and other professionals involved in your case.
  10. To contact your attorney, caseworker and CASA when you want.
  11. To have a minimum of at least monthly visitation with your caseworker, which includes private time between yourself and the caseworker.
  12. To receive medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services.
  13. To refuse medical and behavioral health services and medications, unless court ordered, after age 14.
  14. To live in a safe, healthy and comfortable home where you are treated with respect.
  15. To have foster parents who are screened, trained and licensed, and who receive adequate support and supervision from CYFD and/or private agencies.
  16. To receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing and appropriate personal hygiene products.
  17. To have all your personal belongings secure and transported with you.
  18. To have a permanent plan for placement, to participate in developing this plan, and to have choice in placement or the right to request a placement change.
  19. To be placed in a home with your siblings who are in custody unless it is contrary to your safety and/or wellbeing.
  20. To maintain regular contact with your siblings, whether or not they are in custody, unless it is contrary to your safety and/or well-being
  21. To have regular and ongoing contact (by phone, through letters and in person) as soon as possible after entering custody with biological parents, relatives and other important people in your life, unless it is contrary to your safety and/or wellbeing and prohibited by a court order or you choose not to.
  22. To be informed by a CYFD representative when contact with important people in your life is being monitored or prohibited, and the reasons it is being monitored or prohibited.
  23. To remain in the same school you were enrolled in before entering into custody and to remain in the same school throughout your stay in custody; to be provided with transportation arrangements to ensure continued enrollment in the same school.
  24. To attend and participate in school meetings, including parent /teacher conferences, Individual Education Planning (IEP) meetings and Next Step Planning meetings.
  25. To participate in extra-curricular, cultural, spiritual and personal enrichment activities.
  26. To be involved in the development of your treatment plan, life skills plan, transition plan and visitation plan; to receive factual information about the treatment decisions made by the agency that affect your life.
  27. To have a plan for your future, including a life skills plan and transition plan; to be offered services to help you prepare to become a successful adult.
  28. To an annual credit check from age 14 to 18.
  29. To initiate a review of any prudent parenting decision made by your foster parents, at 14 and older.