CYFD Honors Four with Employee-of-the-Month Awards


SANTA FE -- New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department recently recognized four outstanding staff members as Employees of the Month for November 2010.

The honorees are Melissa Romero from Early Childhood Services, Sonia Sanchez from Protective Services, and Jeremy Howard and Lisa Schaedel of Juvenile Justice Services.

Romero, a CYFD employee for more than six years, serves as a child care licensing supervisor in Santa Fe. She is noted for being a dedicated, hard-working and efficient employee. She is commended for her outstanding management of a large region while organizing her staff to ensure all child care centers are visited in a timely fashion and licenses are prepared prior to their expiration date. In particular, she supervised the opening and closing of numerous centers in Farmington and enabled the appropriate transfer of children according to plan.

Sanchez, an eight-year CYFD employee, is an adoption placement consultant for the southeast region. With a reputation as a dedicated professional who truly cares about permanency for youth in the CYFD system, Sanchez is recognized for having placed many older children and those with special needs into adoptive homes. During times of short staffing, she has volunteered to assist in other counties to ensure that children waiting for families do not linger in foster care. She is commended for her skills in using media and adoption exchanges to locate potential adoptive families.

Howard serves as the coordinator for the Structured Decision Making (SDM) classification tool in Albuquerque. He is credited with bringing innovation in design of data solutions that support analysis of recidivism and revalidation of SDM. Through a creative iterative process using best practices, he worked with Juvenile Justice staff to conduct an elaborate reliability test of the SDM instrument. As a result, needed changes were implemented and statewide training was initiated to ensure uniform and consistent use of the tool. Howard’s efforts were invaluable to the project’s success and helped establish CYFD as a national leader in reliability and revalidation.

Schaedel is a youth care specialist at Albuquerque’s Youth Diagnostic and Development Center. She is commended for her implementation of the Cambiar New Mexico model which shifts the focus from confinement and punishment to rehabilitation and regionalization. Her approach is described as very structured with appropriate discipline while showing exceptional therapeutic skills with the youth she is involved with. She is further recognized for making herself available to speak with the youth individually and for taking on extra work without complaint.