SGR Cosponsors Omaree’s Law to Protect Children

Omaree’s Law Introduced to Protect Children

on February 10, 2014 - 7:56am



The State Capitol in Santa Fe. Courtesy photo

Bill Requires CYFD to Take Custody of Children Showing Specific Injuries of Abuse

SANTA FE–House Bill 333, sponsored by Speaker W. Ken Martinez, D-Bernalillo, Cibola McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia and co-sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane, D-Bernalillo, Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Rio Arriba and Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Bernalillo, requires New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to immediately take custody of children showing specific injuries of abuse, and requires the parents, guardians or custodians to complete counseling before taking custody of a child in certain circumstances.

The bill adds language to the Children’s Code that if specific injuries are found on a child’s body, CYFD is to take custody of the child immediately. This bill requires a mandatory hold and hearing.

The injuries that are listed include burns, bruises, multiple bruises, lacerations, welts, bone fractures, bite marks, multiple similar injuries or bruises, simultaneously present on a child’s body, which are in various stages of healing and any other injury that can be reasonably believed to be caused by abuse.

After the child is taken into custody, a hearing will be held within 48 hours. Under certain circumstances, parents, guardians or custodians, with a history of substantiated abuse and neglect claims, will be required to attend counseling before the child is returned home.

Omaree Varela, tragically, was beaten to death in Albuquerque. There were substantiated reports of abuse reported and bite marks.

The bill will be heard in House Judiciary.

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