SANTA FE – Senate Republican Leader, Sen.Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia), Sen. David Gallegos (District 41-Eddy and Lea), and Sen. Crystal Diamond (District 35-Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra) have fired out a sent a letter to Child, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Secretary Barbara Vigil, calling for greater accountability and action within the department.

The letter comes on the heels of allegations of a departmental cover up, negligence, gaslighting of caseworkers, and consistent failure of the department to stop the death and abuse of our state’s most vulnerable children.

“Anger, frustration, and sadness—that is how I would describe what it has been like to see such apathy in light of the horrendous reports of what is happening at CYFD,” said Gallegos. “I do not know what it will take for this department and this administration to take responsibility for their failures. The least they can do is get behind legislation to deliver independent oversight. We need options for intervention since this department seems unwilling to make drastic changes on their own.”

In 2022, Senator Gallegos was a cosponsor of legislation to create an independent ombudsman office to investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of children placed in the CYFD custody. The bill was publicly opposed by CYFD and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, and tabled by Senate Democrats.

Jacobo D. Baca
Courtesy photo

“Yet again, this Governor remains apathetic to the evil happening right under her nose,” said Baca. “It was this Governor who said on the campaign trail regarding CYFD that ‘we must hold our partners, our leaders, and ourselves accountable.‘ Well, Governor, it is long overdue that you step up and hold your partners, your department, and yourself accountable for the death and abuse happening under your administration.”