Governor announces members of new CYFD Advisory Council
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday announced the members selected to serve on the Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Advisory Council. The members were appointed following an executive order directing its creation signed in February by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. In addition to creating the advisory council, the order directed multiple other, immediate changes that will transform the way the department serves and protects the state’s most vulnerable children and families.
The CYFD Advisory Council gathers professionals from the child-welfare community including service providers, families who have interacted with CYFD, attorneys, and behavioral health providers. Each council member offers a knowledgeable and diverse perspective.
“I am incredibly eager for the work of the advisory committee to get underway,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “The varied expertise and experience of this esteemed group will augment the transformative work of this administration in turning the tide for child welfare in our state.”
“We share the Governor’s commitment to creating a department that is more responsive, more transparent and more effective,” said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Barbara Vigil. “I am looking forward to working closely with this group to find innovative ways to improve child welfare outcomes in New Mexico.”
Council members include:
- Judge Catherine Begaye is the Presiding Children’s Court Judge for 2nd Judicial District. She is a member of the Navajo Nation. She has previously served as a public defender representing juveniles and adults in district and appellate court.
- Brennan Bowman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Urban School Counseling from Norfolk State University. She has over 17 years of experience working with children and families in many capacities. Currently, Ms. Bowman is a middle school counselor with Albuquerque Public Schools and CEO of “With a Village,” an academic success coaching service, where she works with students and their families.
- Rick Quevedo is the CEO and founder of Desert View Family Counseling Services in San Juan and McKinley Counties, which specializes in infant mental health, supervised visitation, in-home services & reunification, wrapround and outpatient mental health for adolescents and families who have experienced significant trauma. Rick serves on serval Task Forces including the Early Childhood Coalition and is a board member for the San Juan Regional Medical Center.
- Arika Sanchez is the NMCAN Director of Policy & Advocacy. She develops and implements the NMCAN’s policy and advocacy agenda. She has previously worked for United Way of Central New Mexico, The Legal Aid Society in New York City, and Volunteer Legal Services in Hawaii. She was also a graduate fellow at the Justice Action Center and volunteer attorney for a homeless legal clinic in Albuquerque.
- Kenneth Stowe is the Division Director of Curriculum & Instruction at the New Mexico Public Education Department and a Board member of the CASA Partners 4NMKIDS. As a former foster youth who experienced multiple bouts of homelessness, he understands first-hand how imperative it is to build systems and support state agencies for children and youth.
- Barbara Yehl is the Director of Lighthouse Foster & Adoption. She created two family-focused programs in Roswell: The Grace Refresh Group, which supports moms of young children and the Lighthouse program, which supports adoption and foster parenting.