After allegations of abuse or neglect, the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) may intervene and take a child into its custody. CYFD may place a child in a home with another family member or may place the child into a foster home. Regardless of where the placement is made, CYFD is responsible for ensuring that the child for whom it is taking responsibility is in a safe environment.
Children in the abuse and neglect system are some of the most vulnerable in New Mexico. The mere fact of these children being placed into the foster care system and removed from their homes means they have suffered trauma. Any additional harms that may occur to a child in foster care exacerbate the trauma and make it more difficult for children to trust. Unfortunately, children in CYFD’s custody are often taken out of terrible home situations only to be thrust into a system where they are exposed to further abuse. As a result of untrained, unsupervised, and unlicensed foster parents, children in state custody and foster care suffer great injuries, including death.
Lawsuits on behalf of children in foster care are complex as they involve claims against the government and involve special deadlines and requirements. It is critical to contact an attorney quickly following an incident of injury in foster care to ensure that the deadlines are assessed and met. These legal claims can either be for negligence of CYFD workers or foster parents, or the gravity may rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Yes. However, a minor child requires a legal guardian to hire an attorney and pursue legal action on their behalf. That can be complicated when the child is in foster care and the child’s legal guardian is CYFD (the entity that may be the wrongdoer in this scenario). A child in CYFD’s custody has a Guardian Ad Litem, a lawyer assigned to represent only the child’s interests, who can be the adult who seeks out legal counsel for the child.
Throughout the past three decades, Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C. has earned a local and national reputation for standing up for children throughout New Mexico. We are experts in handling cases involving children injured in state custody and foster care. We have represented children across New Mexico in successful lawsuits filed in state and federal courts. In addition to representing children on an individual basis, we’ve also been involved in class actions suits against CYFD aimed at protecting and preserving children’s rights in state care.
Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C., is proud to serve as advocates for all vulnerable children throughout New Mexico.