Teresa Casados officially confirmed as new CYFD secretary
SANTA FE, N.M. – There’s a new head of the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department. Teresa Casados was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday.
But the morning started with Casados answering tough questions before the vote on the Senate floor.
Casados was appointed as secretary of New Mexico’s troubled CYFD in November. Her appointment needed confirmation from the Senate, which happened Wednesday.
Sen. Michael Padilla presented her for confirmation Wednesday. He said CYFD is a department close to his heart, and he believes Casados is the right person for the job.
“I will tell you that we need somebody who knows how to get things done. There’s going to be marshaling of resources from multiple state departments in order to get the work done, and so I think that she’s going to be able to do that for us,” said Casados.
Casados is the third secretary to serve in the position since Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took office. She follows both former Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil, and Brian Blalock in the role.
She has a big job ahead of her. A recent letter revealed CYFD has a 2,000-case backlog in the metro and northeast regions of the state.
Workers have also reported being required to work outside areas of their expertise without the right training.
Sen. Cliff Pritle asked about her goals as secretary, including what she wanted to accomplish in the first month.
“My goal for February 28 is to have made a significant movement on the backlog that CYFD is seeing,” said Casados.
Under questions from Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, Casados admitted there is a crisis in the department. She told senators she is willing to meet with lawmakers quarterly to update the progress in turning CYFD around.
Only Pirtle and Baca opposed, sending Casados’ confirmation to the full Senate. The Senate then approved her confirmation in a vote of 32-8.
Here are the eight senators who voted against her:
- Greg Baca – (R) District 29
- Craig Brandt — (R) District 40
- Crystal Diamond Brantly — (R) District 35
- David Gallegos — (R) District 41
- Steven McCutcheon II — (R) District 42
- Mark Moores — (R) District 21
- Cliff Pirtle — (R) District 32
- Gregg Schmedes — (R) District 19