SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A month after signing an executive order surrounding changes to the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD,) Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has picked six people to sit on a new advisory council. The council is one part of the governor’s recent order, and expected to be “a vital part of How New Mexico rebuilds and reinvigorates the department,” according to the Governor’s Office.
Calling it the “CYFD Advisory Council,” the group is eventually expected to be comprised of seven people. The executive order says it should include “at least one representative” from service providers, foster care representatives, youth advocacy representatives, layers, behavioral health providers and family member with experience with the CYFD system.
Each of the members are expected to serve staggered, three-year terms and will be subject to possible reappointment. Here’s a list of the Governor’s appointees to the council:
- Judge Catherine Begaye – Presiding Children’s Court Judge for 2nd Judicial District. Begaye is a member of the Navajo Nation and previously served as a public defender representing juveniles and adults in district and appellate court.
- Brennan Bowman – APS Middle School Counselor. Bowman has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Urban School Counseling from Norfolk State University; over 17 years of experience working with children and families; is CEO of “With a Village,” an academic success coaching service.
- Rick Quevedo – CEO/founder of Desert View Family Counseling Services in San Juan and McKinley Counties. Quevado’s counseling service is said to 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. Quevado serves on the Early Childhood Coalition taskforce and is a board member for the San Juan Regional Medical Center.
- Arika Sanchez – NMCAN Director of Policy & Advocacy. Sanchez has played a role in developing and implementing NMCAN’s policy and advocacy agenda. Previously, Sanchez worked for United Way of Central New Mexico, The Legal Aid Society in New York City, and Volunteer Legal Services in Hawaii. Sanchez is also graduate fellow at the Justice Action Center and volunteer attorney for a homeless legal clinic in Albuquerque.
- Kenneth Stowe – Division Director of Curriculum & Instruction at the New Mexico Public Education Department. Stowe is also a Board member of the CASA Partners 4NMKIDS. According to the Governor’s office, Stowe is “a former foster youth who experienced multiple bouts of homelessness.”
- Barbara Yehl – Director of Lighthouse Foster & Adoption. Yehl created “The Grace Refresh Group,” in Roswell. The group supports moms of young children. Yehl also created “the Lighthouse program,” which supports adoption and foster parenting.
The above biographical information and descriptions were provided by the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Some of the wording in the descriptions has been edited by KRQE News 13 for brevity.