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New Mexico Family Advocacy Program

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New Mexico Family Advocacy Program
Strengthening Interdisciplinary Practice

The New Mexico Family Advocacy Program provides parents in child welfare cases an interdisciplinary team of lawyers, social workers, and parent mentors so that families are given the proper advocacy and support for reunification or other preferred outcomes. 

NM Family Advocacy Program logo

The New Mexico Family Advocacy Program (NMFAP) began as a pilot project in 2013 (formerly known as the Family Support Services) within the Thirteenth Judicial District. In September 2018, the Administrative Office of the Courts was awarded a $7.7 million grant from the Children’s Bureau to further develop and scale the program across the state.

NMFAP adapts the Cornerstone Advocacy model created by the New York Center for Family Representation to provide parents in child welfare cases an interdisciplinary legal team comprised of a respondent attorney, licensed social worker and parent mentor – a parent who has been through and system and has successfully reunified with their child(ren). This elevated model of parent representation helps to improve parent and youth engagement with the Children, Youth and Family Department (CYFD) caseworkers, foster parents and services.

The funding is expanding the program’s efforts over five years (2018-2023) in Bernalillo (2nd Judicial District), Sandoval and Valencia counties (13th Judicial District), with future adaptation in Cibola (13th Judicial District), San Juan and McKinley counties (11th Judicial District). This funding will increase NMFAP’s capacity to:

  • Strengthen partnerships between state, tribal, county and community partners;
  • Effectively engage children, youth, and families;
  • Focus on the achievement of timely permanency for children;
  • Appropriately assess and mitigate safety and risk factors in families;
  • Provide timely and individualized services, resources, and supports for children in foster care and their parents; and,
  • Increase parents’ capacity to protect and provide for their children

NMFAP intends to improve the following Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) outcome measures: 

  • Permanency Outcome 1: Children have permanency and stability in their living situation
  • Permanency Outcome 2: Continuity of family relationships and connections are preserved for children
  • Well-Being Outcome 1: Families have an enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs  NM Intervention Areas


Effects of an Interdisciplinary Approach to Parental Representation in Child Welfare (A summary of a recent research study in New York City)