Nominee’s Work on Behalf of Abused Children Led Governor-Elect to Become a Prosecutor

Albuquerque – Today, Governor-elect Susana Martinez nominated Yolanda Berumen-Deines to serve as her secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD).  Berumen-Deines, a licensed clinical social worker, has extensive experience in the public, non-profit and private sectors working on behalf of children and families to promote their well-being and self-sufficiency.

In nominating Berumen-Deines, Governor-elect Susana Martinez stated:

”Yolanda has a long and proven record of advocating on behalf of endangered children, promoting healthy families and providing therapy to children and adults.

I first met Yolanda when she was serving as a social worker for the Department of Human Services in Texas and I was an intern for a judge.  Yolanda was testifying in the courtroom on behalf of two young boys who had witnessed their father murder their mother, who was eight months pregnant at the time.  As I watched Yolanda show extraordinary compassion for those children and a firm toughness in the pursuit of justice on their behalf, I decided in that moment that I wanted to become a prosecutor.

New Mexico’s children deserve to be safe, to not live in fear of abuse or neglect, and to be afforded a future of opportunity.  Protecting our children will be Yolanda’s top priority, a cause at which she has excelled and to which she and I have devoted our lives.”

Berumen-Deines currently runs a full-time clinical social work practice with her husband, working closely with various agencies and the military community to provide therapy to families and children. During her time in private practice, she has specialized in assisting sexual abuse victims and supporting the efforts of law enforcement.  Over her 30-year career, Berumen-Deines has also served in a number of positions within the Texas Department of Human Services, including the roles of supervisor of the sexual abuse unit of Child Protective Services, regional services director, supervisor of the Foster Home Development Unit and the assistant to the regional director of Child Welfare.  Her lengthy work in the non-profit sector includes efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling.  Berumen-Deines has also trained prosecutors, teachers, and others in Dona Ana County on how to identify when physical and sexual abuse of children may be occurring.  She earned her bachelor of science in education from the University of Texas in El Paso and her master of social work from Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio.

In response to her nomination as the secretary of CYFD, Berumen-Deines said, “I am honored to serve in Governor-elect Martinez’s Administration.  It is a high calling to be asked by Governor-elect Martinez to protect the well-being and future of New Mexico’s children and families, and I am well-prepared for the task.  We must ensure that CYFD operates efficiently and professionally, with the safety of our children always taking the highest priority.”

The editorial in today’s Albuquerque Journal cited findings from a report that indicates continued mismanagement of operations in the Children, Youth, and Families Department, particularly in its oversight of the juvenile justice system.  “I have asked Yolanda to immediately review CYFD finances and operations and to initiate a strong change in its culture and expectations.  We have to put the safety of our children first, and our juvenile justice system should operate at the highest standard,” Governor-elect Martinez concluded.