The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) offers shelter and support services to children and their families. However, the department has been having issues due to the high number of cases they have and the lack of adequate staffing.
CYFD has an overall vacancy rate among its staff of 24.5%, while simultaneously trying to manage thousands of cases involving abused or neglected children. In general, CYFD caseworkers are carrying twice the national average caseload. Here are two effects of this staff vacancy rate.
The CYFD receives thousands of cases. If staff members are not enough to handle them, placements for children will be delayed. Cases of children spending nights at CYFD offices have been reported. While the offices try to provide comfort and meet the kids’ needs, the delays can have significant negative emotional consequences for children who are already in crisis.
When allegations of maltreatment are reported, CYFD needs to conduct investigations and act accordingly – with haste. However, with inadequate staffing, investigating cases becomes delayed, and resolving them with any kind of action could take even longer. This puts children in unsafe situations where they may suffer serious injuries and other harm. In some cases, children have even died from abuse before CYFD could act.
If your young relative has been hurt by CYFD’s failure to remove the child from an unsafe home, you may need to consider options outside the department. With legal guidance, parents, legal guardians and others can help hold the government accountable for their mistakes.