HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 9
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
A JOINT MEMORIAL
REQUESTING THE CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES DEPARTMENT TO CONVENE A CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES TASK FORCE TO STUDY AND DEVELOP RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE THE DEPARTMENT'S REMOVAL AND REUNIFICATION POLICIES AND PRACTICES.
WHEREAS, numerous factors influence the children, youth and families department's or law enforcement's decision to remove a child from the child's home or to reunify the child with family; and
WHEREAS, removing a child from a parent, even for a short period of time, can have long-term harmful effects on the child due to the trauma of parental separation; and
WHEREAS, the high rate of short-term placements by the children, youth and families department may be related to systemic factors such as high turnover rates among caseworkers and high caseloads;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the secretary of children, youth and families be requested to convene and administratively support a child protective services task force of experts to study and report to the governor and the legislature its recommendations; to consider the work of the 2019 child protective services task force; and to consult with the Children's Code task force; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the child protective services task force's study include:
A. recommendations made by earlier studies of the children, youth and families department's child protective services system;
B. the use and efficacy of short-term foster care placements and the long-term consequences of short-term foster care;
C. best practices and evidence-based programs and the efficacy of current state services and programs related to child protective services; and
D. recruitment and retention of staff, particularly caseworkers; the supervisory roles and responsibilities; and the total caseload of the children, youth and families department, district offices and individual caseworkers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the child protective services task force present interim reports to the legislative health and human services committee and the legislative interim committee that addresses courts, corrections and justice issues and provide a final report with recommendations for statutory and other changes to the governor and the legislature by November 1, 2024; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor and the secretary of children, youth and families.
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