The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) primarily exists to protect vulnerable people from domestic violence and neglect. When CYFD investigates a child’s circumstances or a family, workers potentially have the authority to remove a child from the place where they live and to put them into a safer situation.
CYFD workers can also order parental education and provide support services for those struggling to do right by their children. Unfortunately, CYFD does sometimes fail to fulfill its purpose, often with tragic consequences. A horrific case involving the preventable death of a four-year-old boy shows how workers sometimes fail to protect those who need help the most and may actively cover up their mistakes.
New evidence shows signs of an intentional cover-up
Currently, CYFD faces a lawsuit relating to the 2019 death of a 4-year-old boy. The state has charged three adults in this case, one of whom has already accepted a plea deal and will now serve life in prison. The representative of the young boy’s estate has brought a lawsuit against CYFD because their actions contributed to this tragic outcome.
Previous evidence submitted to the courts showed that CYFD had heard from the child about his fear for his own safety the year prior to his death and failed to intervene. Despite multiple interactions with the child and his family, adequate steps were not taken to prevent the abuse and neglect he experienced at home, and he died as a result.
New evidence presented in court by the attorney representing the estate of the deceased boy makes the story even more tragic and frustrating. Not only did a worker face challenges from her supervisor when she tried to intervene to protect the boy, but the same worker claims that there was intense pressure to falsify the records for the child’s case and redact certain information that would implicate CYFD as playing a role in the tragic outcome.
Wrongful death cases can be difficult to litigate
No one likes to take responsibility for actions that harm another person, especially if the result was a tragic and preventable death. Those facing wrongful death claims, even when there is significant evidence of negligence or misconduct, will often fight back, which can make such claims quite difficult for those already grieving the loss of a loved one.
Getting the right support can make all the difference for those filing wrongful death claims, as is evidenced by the possible cover-up unearthed in this particular, tragic case.