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CYFD chief defends agency, explains staff vacancies

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 12:09 pm, Sat Feb 1, 2014.

The head of the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department defended her agency Friday, telling lawmakers that even an influx of money cannot solve all the problems that make protecting children one of the hardest jobs in state government.

Yolanda Deines, the Cabinet secretary who oversees the department, said her agency hired 314 employees in one stretch. But it lost just as many during the same period because the work is so difficult and demanding, she said.

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Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Roary Williams posted at 8:13 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    SamCoyote Posts: 1

    I want to know who oversees Yolanda Deines, the Cabinet secretary. It seems like CYFD is an entity who only reports to itself, with no oversight that I can see.

    With no relation to this story, my five grandchildren were taken from my stepson and daughter-in-law because of alleged abuse. Although told to go through programs, education, etc, which they have done (and with poor cooperation from the people running the programs they were assigned to be in, cancelling, not showing up for appointments, etc.), and despite rulings by judges, my grandchildren are split up in poorly ran foster care.

    Almost all the children are split up, in what was once a whole and close family. There are three boys and two girls, split up in three different homes. They have all been traumatized, and that trauma blamed on the parents, as if breaking up an entire family *wouldn't* be traumatic. And on it goes, always some reason my stepson and his wife cannot be reunited with their children.

    My wife goes with them to visits and I hear lots of awful things, visits being cut short for poor reasons, detracting from any close and personal bonding the parents and children might be able to maintain. Truly, being in foster care and separated from their parents has been the most destructive thing to ever happen to these children

    I want to know who oversees this chaos. I want someone to answer for this tragedy.

     
  • PJ Reed posted at 1:45 pm on Sun, Feb 2, 2014.

    Paoloreed Posts: 1

    "(Y. Deines) also told the Public Affairs Committee that she opposes a joint memorial seeking a raft of historical information from her agency regarding foster care... .Deines said compiling some of it would be onerous, and she was concerned about the resources that would be needed." This is a ludicrous mischaracterization of CYFD's obligations in terms of record keeping. "Compiling" such historical data should not be a task, in itself (much less deemed as "onerous"), and should rather be readily maintained and available at any point in time, on behalf of CYFD's clientele, and NM's citizenry as per the public trust. The primary purpose of such data/record keeping is so that this public agency, responsible for overseeing the needs of NM's most at risk kids, can be maintained in reasonably transparent fashion. As with other related stories evidence proves, inc. the very recent story about an at-risk youth facility (see: "Child abuse case at YDDC fell through cracks", Alb. Journal 01/30/14), settings and agencies obligated to serve the needs of such highly vulnerable persons (e.g. the elderly, mentally ill, and disabled in general) are far too often rife with deep shortfalls (abuse, admin. ineptitude, etc.) that I contend are shocking to anyone of reasonable conscientious. This woman's misconduct and the assoc. issues are occurring to the detriment of NM most at-risk kids, at the the expense of NM taxpayers across the board. (co-author, "PJ Reed The Arizona State Hospital and Patient Abuse" [blogspot.com]).

     

Key issues facing lawmakers

ECONOMICS

Backdrop: New Mexico gained only 1,700 jobs during the past year ending in November. That's a growth rate of 0.2 percent and the lowest in the region. New Mexcio's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November compared with 6.7 percent a year earlier.

Proposals: Gov. Susana Martinez proposed expanding programs that can help bring nurses, dentists and other medical providers to rural areas. She also wants to provide $7.5 million for an endowment fund to attract top porfessors and researchers at colleges and universities. The governor recommends broadening tax incentivies to encourage startup companies as well as research and development. Democrats are pushing to increase the stat's minimum wage, which has been $7.50 an hour since 2009. Some lawmakers want automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.

BUDGET

Backdrop: The current state budget is $5.9 billion, and revenues are expected to reach nearly $6.2 billion in the fiscal year starting in July. That provides about $239 million in "new money" for lawmakers and the governor for budget increases and to offset tax cuts. The state has cash reserves of more than $500 million, but that could shrink because of accounting discrepancies stretching back more than six years.

Proposals: Martinez has recommended a 3 percent budget increase compared with about 4 percent proposed by the Legislative Finance Committee. Martinez proposes targeted increases for hard-to-fill jobs such as state police. But the legislative panel advocates across-the-board raises for all state agency workers and educators, with higher amounts for those in certain jobs, including judges, state police and social workers.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Backdrop: About $600 million in bond financing is available for capital improvement projects. Some of that goes for specific purposes, including public schools and projects on tribal lands. However, much of the financing will be divvied up for new projects. 

Proposals: Martinez proposes earmarking about $112 million in bond proceeds for water projects across the state. The governor also recommends creatinga  new fund that can provide emergency assistance to communities with drinking water problems. The Legislative Finance Committee has recommended $10 million in bond financing for highway maintenance and $6 million for a road to the state's spaceport.

EDUCATION

Backdrop: Public schools, colleges and universities get nearly $3 out of every $5 in the operating budget. The high school graduation rate was 70 percent in the last school year, and nearly half of graduates enrolling in state colleges in 2011 and 2012 required remedial courses.

Proposals: Martinez will renew a proposal to require schools to hold back third-graders who can't read proficiently. Some Democrats and a coalition of social advocacy groups want to earmark part of the yearly payout from a state permanent fund to provide more money for early-childhood education. Lawmakers also will consider ways to shore up a lottery-financed college scholarship program. Some proposals would change the program to make the aid need-based and provide a flat dollar amount for scholarships. 

The Associated Press

Session dates - 2014

• December 16, 2013 - January 17 Legislation may be prefiled

• January 21 Opening day (noon)

• February 5 Deadline for introduction

• February 20 Session ends (noon)

• March 12 Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed

• May 21 Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date

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