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Office of Family Representation and Advocacy (“OFRA”)

The Oversight Commission will convene a Members Orientation Summit on Thursday March 23, 2023. AGENDA

The next Oversight Commission Meeting will be March 27, 2023 from 3:30 to 5:00p.m.

Calendar of Oversight Commission Meetings

Roster of Oversight Commission Members

The Office of Family Representation and Advocacy (OFRA) was created as an adjunct agency by the Family Representation and Advocacy Act (“Act”), Section 32A-27-1 through 32A-27-13, NMSA 1978. The Act established a thirteen member Oversight Commission to exercise independent oversight of the Office. The Act passed unanimously on the House Floor and by a vote of 35-2 on the Senate Floor. On March 8, 2022, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the bill into law.

The mission of OFRA is to provide high quality legal representation and advocacy that promotes positive outcomes for families; affirms, respects, and supports the diversity of New Mexico’s families; promotes due process and procedural fairness; is consistent with performance standards and legal ethics; and complies with state and federal law. OFRA and the Oversight Commission will ensure that services are provided to children, parents, custodians and guardians whose children are, or are at risk of being placed in the legal custody of the Children, Youth and Families Department, and to eligible adults under the Fostering Connections Act.

OFRA will have both employed attorneys as well as contract attorneys across the State. The main office will be located in Albuquerque with four additional regional offices, most likely in Farmington, Santa Fe, Roswell, and Las Cruces. The intent is to create and support a highly qualified attorney workforce with reasonable caseloads and decent compensation for contractors and employees, and personnel benefits for employees as well. OFRA will provide extensive training for all staff and attorneys – both employed and contracted – and institute quality control and performance monitoring. OFRA will develop supports for attorneys to include mentors, paralegals, investigators, experts, and administrative staff; and engage appellate attorneys and services.

Sufficient funds are in place to sustain current operations under OFRA. These funds come from the Court Appointed Fee Fund and from Title IV-E monies.

Additional funds to increase compensation, build out the Interdisciplinary Legal Teams, and operate the first two regional offices (approximately $5 million) will be sought from the legislature beginning in 2023 for FY2024. Another $2 million will be sought for FY2025 to open the remaining three regional offices. With new funding, the Office of Family Representation and Advocacy will add Interdisciplinary Legal Team Services to assist clients through the legal process, beginning first with legal teams for parents, custodians, and guardians.