Director of CYFD Protective Services to leave position Friday

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The person leading New Mexico’s Child Protective Services Division is leaving the Children, Youth & Families Department. 

Director Emily Martin announced her resignation last week. Her last day is Friday, May 26.

The news comes less than a month after the departure of CYFD Secretary Barbara Vigil, and about three months after the governor announced plans for “transformative changes” to the troubled agency.

So far, the list of leadership vacancies is getting longer. 

In a memo sent to CYFD staff last week, Interim CYFD Secretary Teresa Casados addressed the departure of Protective Services Director Emily Martin, saying this “leadership change has far-reaching effects.” (Full memo below.)

Protective Services is the division within CYFD tasked with abuse and neglect cases, child permanency and safety in the state.

Martin was front and center advocating on behalf of the department last legislative session.

Now she joins a growing list of names heading out the door – leaving another opening in key leadership positions.

Casados addressed department vacancies last week, specifically the search for newly-created deputy spots and a new head of the agency.

Casados calls for a change in the negative narrative while many others call for a change in the negative outcomes for children in our state.

CYFD’S Hilari Lipton will serve as acting director of protective services.

KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office Monday and a spokesperson sent the following statement:

“Vacancies at CYFD are at the root of many of the challenges faced by the department, and filling vacancies at every level is paramount to the department’s transformation. The department is working closely with the State Personnel Office to streamline and expedite the hiring process to close those gaps as quickly as possible. We are excited about identifying a new leadership team that will lead the transformation of the department, and that search is ongoing. The importance of filling positions at the top of this agency cannot be understated, which is why there is a deliberative process in place to find candidates for the deputy positions in a timely but thoughtful manner. That said, we are not waiting to begin the transformation. The department recently cleared a backlog of payments to foster families and providers and launched a first-of-its-kind data dashboard to improve trust with the public and stakeholders. The department is also recruiting more and alleviating some administrative burdens on caseworkers. All of that work will continue under the leadership of Interim Secretary Casados.

Hilari Lipton will serve as the acting director of Child Protective Services until a permanent replacement is identified.”