Interim CYFD leader to stay on permanently
Santa Fe New Mexican
LOCAL & REGION
The interim label is off, and Teresa Casados is on the job for the long run. Casados will stay on as the Cabinet secretary of the troubled state Children, Youth and Families Department, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Monday, removing the interim tag Casados held since April. “Teresa Casados has left an indelible mark at CYFD over just a few months, delving into evaluating processes and structures to make sure they all squarely support a singular goal: to serve the state’s most vulnerable children,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release. “She has already delivered results and I have no doubt the momentum will continue from here.” Casados, who had been the chief operating officer in the Governor’s Office, will leave that post Nov. 27, according to the news release. CYFD has long been problematic among state agencies; it handles some of the state’s most difficult child welfare cases. But in recent years it has drawn increasing focus — and occasionally, anger — from legislators who question whether the agency was well managed. In a statement, Casados said she saw hope for the agency, lauding strides in hiring, transparency and organization. “Over the past six months here, I have seen the dedication of the employees in the department who do some of the most challenging work in the state with determination, compassion and teamwork,” she said. Casados took over when former state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil announced she was leaving the job. The Governor’s Office said CYFD has ended the practice of using Social Security benefits belonging to children; restructured the agency to prioritize family services, juvenile justice and protective services; published a transparency dashboard; and is on track to meet requirements set forth in a corrective action plan.