JJS Special Programs

The Special Programs Unit falls within CYFD’s Juvenile Justice Services, as part of Field Services.  The Unit is tasked with staffing the New Mexico’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, administering special initiatives, monitoring compliance to federal and state juvenile justice and delinquency prevention requirements, and managing funding for community programs.

The Special Programs Unit strives, through its special initiatives, compliance efforts and community funding, to identify and support data-informed, evidence-based programs and promising approaches that demonstrate positive impact on the lives of New Mexico’s at-risk and system-involved youth.  The Unit is organized into the following areas of responsibility:

Racial & Ethnic Disparities: System Improvement Initiative:
Plan and implement strategies to address racial and ethnic disparities among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, to assure equal treatment for all of the State’s youth.
Help jurisdictions establish more effective and efficient systems, so youth involved in the juvenile justice system will have opportunities to develop into healthy adults.

Compliance Monitoring: Grants Management Unit:
Enhance/maintain adequate monitoring of state detention centers to state detention standards, and jails, detention facilities, and other facilities to assure compliance with federal JJDP Act requirements. Oversee four juvenile justice and delinquency prevention grant programs:
  • One-on-One and Group Mentoring funding;
  • Juvenile Continuum funding;
  • Juvenile Community Corrections funding; and
  • Federal Title II Formula Grant funding.
Also staffs New Mexico’s State Advisory Group/JJAC.


For further information about Special Programs, follow any of the following links:

Special Programs Staff

Bill Kearney
Special Programs Manager



Cindy Varela
Grant Management Unit Manager



Samantha Rendon
Grants Manager



Consuelo Garcia
Grants Manager



Louis Pacias
Grants Manager



Patti Vowell
System Improvement Coordinator



Bianca Padilla
Juvenile Justice Specialist



Samantha Armendariz
Compliance Coordinator



Jessica Reno
Operations Research Analyst



Jeffrey Kolenda
Operations Research Analyst



Melissa Gomez
Administrative Assistant




The Unit has a Three-Year Strategic Plan setting its priorities and guiding its efforts. See also the unit's Strategic Plan Databook.

Special Programs-Related Online Resources:

Annie E. Casey Foundation promotes the advancement of child welfare and juvenile justice for kids in America. Go to this website to find their latest National Kids Count book.

CYFD Publications & Reports contains current Department publications.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) educates and informs federal policymakers on state and local juvenile justice issues.

Corinne Wolfe Children's Law Center works to enhance the knowledge and skills of the many professionals and volunteers who work in the child abuse and neglect and juvenile justice systems. Go to this website to learn about the yearly Children's Law Institute (CLI) and to find the New Mexico Juvenile Justice Handbook.

New Mexico Communities of Care is a network of services and supports dedicated to improving outcomes for children and youth with serious behavioral health challenges.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service is a federally funded resource offering justice- and drug-related information to support research, policy and program development worldwide.

Office of the New Mexico Attorney General is the place to go for information on such things as the Governmental Conduct Act, the Inspection of Public Records and the Open Meetings Act.

Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency (OJJDP) is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, supporting states, local communities and tribal jurisdictions in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles.

Voices for Children promotes the well-being of children, youth and families. Go to this site to find the latest NM Kids Count report.


Reference Materials:

Background Check and Fingerprint Instructions
Acronyms (from the NM Juvenile Justice Handbook)
Glossary (from the NM Juvenile Justice Handbook)
Table of Statutes (from the NM Juvenile Justice Handbook)