Department of Health and Human Services

Administration for Children and Families – ACYF/CB awards federal grant to the New Mexico Family Advocacy Program

The Family Advocacy Program uses a multi-disciplinary team approach shown to improve child and family well-being and support New Mexico’s public policy of reunifying families when possible. A team consisting of a court-appointed attorney, a social worker and a parent mentor works with parents at the outset of a child protection case, including to address substance abuse problems and strengthen the parents’ ability to care for their children.

Early parent engagement helps children achieve better, safe, permanency outcomes sooner in child welfare cases. The Cornerstone Model was first implemented by The Center for Family Representation in New York (CFR). It uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to representing parents.  The team, consisting of an attorney, social worker and parent mentor, is focused on engaging the parent to create transformative change in the life of their family.

In 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court paved the way for what is now the Family Support Services program. The 13th District Court obtained funding for technical assistance from The New Mexico Court Improvement Project and Casey Family Programs provided funding for technical assistance and training in the Cornerstone Model at CFR.  A multi-systemic team from New Mexico came together as a team and through courage conversations created the framework for Family Support Services in 2013.


  • Our clients might be your neighbor, employee, or other person you meet in a typical day. Our clients tell their stories in their own words.  We think that what they have to say will surprise you.
  • Because our services are family centered and based on dignity, respect and compassion, our clients’ stories create collective team stories. See what our team members have to say about their clients and their work.

Our Clients

  • Our clients are everyday people facing extraordinary challenges. CYFD is involved in their family.
  • We recognize their dignity as people while recognizing room for change; respect where rspect is lacking; and compassion rising to the challenge of reclaiming their families.

What We Do

Our multidisciplinary teams work with clients to help them realize their goals. Teams consist of attorneys, licensed social workers, and parent partners.

Sandoval Program Data 2013-2016

Number of Clients47
Clients with comorbidity*15.6
Children served61
Percentage of Cases to TPR3%

Valencia Program Data 2015-2016

Number of Clients14
Clients with comorbidity*8.96
Children served35
Percentage of Cases to TPR2%
Percentage of clients with Cognitive Delay/TBI**50%

Program Highlights

  • Program expands to Bernalillo County ​
  • Children returned home with CYFD custody as soon as the initial review
  • Sandoval County Children, Youth and Families Department receives an “A” on their federal standards review.
  • The program accepts pilot Bernalillo County cases
  • November 2016, Casey Family Programs provides TA addressing short and long-term program sustainability and growth.
  • Program Director recruits social work interns from New Mexico universities.
  • Social work interns continue with the program as licensed social workers.
  • Program participates in the ABA Indicators of Success Pilot and has continuously collected data since 2013.
  • Children born during an open case are able to safely remain with parents 

New Mexico Family Advocacy Program

NMFAP closed 82 cases in the last year

  • 5% recidivated
  • 1/2 of the 5% resulted in kinship guardianship in less than three months.
  • NMFA Improved time to permanency for 86 children in that year.