Governor Susana Martinez Establishes Child Advocacy Center Pilot Program in Valencia County

04.04.2014

LOS LUNAS, N.M. -- Governor Susana Martinez this week signed an executive order establishing a child advocacy center pilot program in Valencia County to enable better coordination between CYFD caseworkers, law enforcement, and community partners who work on child maltreatment cases. Child advocacy centers house a variety of non-profit and public partners all dedicated to supporting children who have been victims of abuse; they can include law enforcement officers, child forensic interviewers, sexual assault nurse examiners, various social service organizations, and child abuse caseworkers.

“This model of bringing together a diverse team of trained and dedicated professionals will help keep more of our children safe,” said Governor Martinez. “Emphasizing the team approach will help improve communication and information sharing, so these professionals can better protect the children and families they serve.”

Valencia County is one of the highest-risk and highest-need areas of the state for child welfare services; the Governor’s executive order directs state agencies to establish and staff a child advocacy center in Los Lunas, where the Henry Perea Building has been identified as a suitable location and local partners exist to help provide comprehensive child welfare services.

Additionally, Governor Martinez has directed CYFD to work with local partners in other New Mexico communities to identify areas where it would be feasible and helpful to establish additional child advocacy centers.

Governor Martinez recently announced numerous proposals to improve the well-being of New Mexico’s children and the investigation of child abuse incidents. These initiatives and directives are designed to improve communication between CYFD and law enforcement, better work with families who have faced multiple investigations and recruit and retain more CYFD caseworkers. In this same vein, the Governor will continue to fight for legislation that would allow a court to order counseling services and interventions for families who frequently interact with CYFD. The legislation failed to pass in the recently concluded legislative session.