Susana Martinez. announces changes for CYFD

Susana Martinez, CYFD Secretary Yolanda Deines
From - By: Jen Samp and Elizabeth Reed - Communication, follow up, recruitment. On Wednesday, Gov. Susana Martinez announced several proposals to improve child abuse investigations in New Mexico.
     Martinez said she will issue an executive order later this week for the state's Children, Youth and Families Department to permanently transfer a team of investigators to the Family Advocacy Center in Albuquerque.
     In addition, the governor will direct CYFD to work with local partners in other New Mexico communities to identify areas where it would be feasible and helpful to establish additional child advocacy centers.
      Martinez said CYFD also needs upgraded communication tools. She said the department's software dates back to 1998. She wants to improve communication by enabling officers and CYFD to use smartphones and tablets. The governor also wants CYFD to identify and keep track of families who have faced multiple investigations. She wants these families to undergo counseling and intervention services.
      Lastly, Martinez is proposing to increase salaries of newly hired case workers by 3 percent. She wants to hire a specialized recruiter to work to identify prospects and recruit them into CYFD. Qualified applicants would also be eligible for higher pay.
     The reform efforts come months after the death of a 9-year-old boy who Albuquerque police said was kicked to death by his own mother. CYFD had a history with Omaree and his mom, Synthia Varela-Casaus, but that there were no open cases at the time of the boy's death. More

ABQ Mayor wants more money for police training

Albuquerque's mayor wants more money for police training - especially for the way cops deal with mentally ill people. 

Mayor Richard Berry's brand new budget proposal comes just when the U.S. Department of Justice is close to wrapping up their two-year investigation into police shootings and civil rights complaints. Mayor Berry said the budget was crafted with the justice probe in mind. 

The mayor's budget also calls for seven new civilian employees in APD for help in public records and telecommunication and the crime lab in addition to 3 million dollars for new police cars. 

The city council will get to work on the budget soon - coming up with their own ideas - and by the end of May the mayor and the council should have something worked out.


Public Education Dept. faces lawsuit

A civil rights group has filed a lawsuit alleging New Mexico's public education system violates the constitutional rights of low-income children and those learning English. 
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund brought the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of parents of about three dozen students in the Albuquerque, Gadsden, Las Cruces, Magdalena, Santa Fe, Zuni and Espanola school districts. The case was filed in district court in Santa Fe
The lawsuit contends the state provides inadequate funding to educate "at-risk students," many of whom are Hispanic and Native Americans. The state constitution requires a "sufficient" education for all children. 
The lawsuit also seeks to invalidate school initiatives by Gov. Susana Martinez, including a teacher evaluation system.