Gov. Susana Martinez outlined specifics for how New Mexico can better combat child abuse and neglect during her State of the State address today.
Last year’s high-profile death of 9-year-old Omaree Varela sparked outrage. He had been referred to the Children, Youth and Families Department nine times and called 911 months before he died. Response times to child abuse allegations have gone up over the last three years, according to a 2014 report.
“We will also have the technology in place to finally allow police officers access to the CYFD history of a family when they are dispatched to a child abuse incident,” she said.
Martinez added that CYFD caseworkers, police officers and others who investigate child abuse and neglect should be housed together in seven new child advocacy centers.
“Every single person in our state should be required to protect our children and report child abuse if they know or suspect it to be occurring,” she said.