New Mexico CYFD secretary to resign May 1

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SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Barbara Vigil said Thursday she will resign May 1.

Secretary Vigil will transition to the Advisory Council. Vigil said Teresa Casados, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief operating officer, will take over as the interim secretary.

Vigil will join the council formed by an executive order in February to provide accountability for CYFD. Meanwhile, the governor will conduct a national search for the next secretary, who “must have experience in successfully pioneering major systemic reforms.”

Reports rank New Mexico as one of the worst states for child well-being.

Three bills received bipartisan support from lawmakers and community advocates during the New Mexico Legislature’s regular session. However, each bill stalled out and didn’t pass.

State lawmakers did pass one bill, Senate Bill 426 to create a Civil Rights Division at the Attorney General’s Office. However, the governor pocket vetoed the bill, killing it.

State Sen. Crystal Diamond, R-Elephant Butte, issued this statement regarding Secretary Vigil’s resignation:

“I am heartbroken to see the vulnerable children of our state failed by this administration yet again. We had a chance to force structural change in the department that would have created stability and accountability. Instead, certain legislators were bullied by the Governor into rejecting viable, bipartisan solutions with the empty promise that Secretary Vigil would be a steady hand of change. This is truly a sad day for New Mexico.”

The governor appointed Vigil as CYFD secretary in October 2021. Vigil took over for Mariana Padilla, who served as interim CYFD secretary after Brian Blalock stepped down in August 2021.

Lujan Grisham appointed Blalock as CYFD secretary after being sworn in as governor in 2019.

The governor shared the following statement Thursday:

“I am profoundly grateful to Barbara Vigil for her legacy of service to the children of our state, especially for being such a stabilizing force for the Children, Youth and Family Services Department. I’m looking forward to continuing to benefit from her expertise in her new role on the Policy Advisory Council. Chief Casados has hit the ground running and is already making significant strides to meaningfully transform CYFD.”  

Vigil provided the following statement about her resignation:

“My time at CYFD has been the culmination of a career working in both the judicial and the executive branches of government, always with a particular focus on the well-being of New Mexico’s children and families. Collaborating with child welfare professionals, we built a foundation for lasting change and positive outcomes for our children and families. It’s been my honor to serve these families. I am grateful to the thousands of dedicated professionals – foster families, service providers, and CYFD staff and believe deeply in their capacity to achieve transformational change.”  


This is a developing story. Stay with and KOB 4 Eyewitness News for updates.