Kevin S. Settlement Information

CYFD and HSD System Change Innovations at Work


The Kevin S. settlement is more than the resolution of a class-action lawsuit – it builds upon CYFD and HSD’s commitment to collaboratively create a child welfare system built on trauma responsiveness and to fully integrate the child welfare and Medicaid systems. Our settlement agreement is central to improving the state’s outcomes for children who touch the child welfare system.

CYFD and HSD’s coordinated approach has already led to several improved outcomes and reforms for children, including increased in-state community-based placements, passage of the ground-breaking Indian Family Protection Act, trauma-responsive behavioral health screenings, and individualized planning meetings just to name a few.


Kevin S., et al. v. Blalock, et al., No. 1:18-cv-00896, was filed on September 22, 2018 against the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD), alleging that trauma-impacted children and youth in New Mexico foster care lacked safe, appropriate and stable placements and behavioral health services to meet their needs. The settlement agreement is available in PDF format here: Kevin S. Settlement Agreement February 2020

Suit Dismissed and Settlement Reached

After CYFD and HSD entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs on March 26th, 2020, the suit was dismissed with prejudice. The settlement agreement details commitments to be implemented over a three-year period. These commitments include significant changes to practices and policies, as well data collection to document the State’s progress on specific goals.


The settlement provides for oversight by three Co-Neutrals to evaluate the progress of the State. The Co-Neutrals are national experts in the fields of social service and child welfare.

Annual Progress Reports and Data Validation Plans

The State is required to provide an annual written report documenting progress toward its commitments and outcome measures. The Co-Neutrals will then issue a report validating the progress of the State.


Settlement Commitments

The commitments of the settlement are detailed in a set of four Appendices (A, B, C, D). As progress is made on the commitments in each Appendix, we will post relevant data and documents.

Individualized Planning Process Overview on:

  • November 16th -  9:00am , 11:00 am, 1:00pm , and 3:00pm  MST
  • November 29th -  9:00am , 11:00 am, 1:00pm , and 3:00pm  MST

Please email Nicole Starke at to register for one session.

If you have language access needs such as Spanish interpretation/translation or a person with a disability who needs captioning, a qualified sign language interpreter, or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact the CYFD Director of Children’s Rights at 505-629-9626 or at least one (1) week prior to the meeting or as soon as possible.