News Archive

Nov 12, 2021

The National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN) released a report regarding for-profit residential facilities for youth, informed by the great work of the Protection and Advocacy Organizations, such as DRNM, that monitor them.  New Mexico is mentioned in this report. This work connects well to the work of all of us--ensuring that children with disabilities receive the services they need in their home communities.

Apr 8, 2021

By April 5, 2021, all schools in New Mexico are to be open for in-person learning, observing COVID-safe practices. Families also may choose to remain in remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Whatever your family decides, there are some questions that will likely need to be addressed in your child’s Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”). Click here for more information.

Feb 10, 2021

Are you looking for resources for legal assistance in New Mexico?  Click here to access the Legal Resources Guide.

Nov 23, 2020

Transition Services are supports that help young people with disabilities prepare for life after the high school years.  Please click here for more information.

Aug 26, 2020

The Governor’s Commission on Disability and The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management recently partnered to put together a fillable Evacuation Workbook (attached and at the link below) with a focus on people with disabilities. As we’re enveloped in smoke from fires across the state, they wanted to push out this resource.

Evacuation Workbook:

Thank you!

Jul 23, 2020

In recognition of the 30th Anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued a Proclamation designating July 26, 2020 as Americans with Disabilities Act Day.

Read the text of the full proclamation from the governor.

Jun 11, 2020

A Just Society

Disability Rights New Mexico extends our deepest sympathy and support to the family and friends of George Floyd.  We have witnessed the senseless murder and taking of his life.  We know names of other persons of color who have suffered unspeakable harm generated by the brutality of law enforcement and systemic racism.  We also are reminded that there are so many unnamed others that have been harmed, ignored and denied the justice that those lives deserve.  The tragedies cannot be minimized as isolated instances that can be remedied without dramatic reform.  It is systemic.  It is intentional.  It must end.

The murder of Mr. Floyd was the ultimate final act that was inflicted upon him as a person of color.  But, as we see every day in our advocacy work on behalf of persons with disabilities, Mr. Floyd and countless other persons of color are subjected to inequities in housing, health care, education, pay and employment opportunities.  These inequities are injustices that are repeatedly inflicted upon their daily fight to survive and thrive.  This every day racism and discrimination creates a hopelessness and despair.  It is dehumanizing.  It devalues lives. It successfully thwarts the creation of a just society.

As Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, recently stated in an interview in the New York Times, “We need to reckon with our history of racial injustice. I think everything we are seeing is a symptom of a larger disease. We have never honestly addressed all the damage that was done during the two and a half centuries that we enslaved black people. The great evil of American slavery wasn’t the involuntary servitude; it was the fiction that black people aren’t as good as white people, and aren’t the equals of white people, and are less evolved, less human, less capable, less worthy, less deserving than white people.”

There is no magical vaccine to eradicate this plague upon our people.  It will require hard work, courage and resolve.   Let’s be clear, there will be forces to combat our fight, our cause.  They have been successful for hundreds of years to avoid even facing these atrocities while perpetuating this fiction referenced by Bryan Stevenson.  They have much at stake and will be creative to avoid confronting and bringing forth the change that our people deserve. In his 1963 book, The Fire Next Time, American writer James Baldwin said “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  We join the efforts of others to help this nation and world face this evil and to end this racial nightmare.  This is our cause.  We strive for policies that lead to equity and justice.  We are determined now more than ever to do our part to build a more just society.

Apr 7, 2020

DRNM to Continue Providing Services to the Disability Community during COVID-19 Crisis

Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) will continue to serve the disability community during this COVID-19 crisis.

However, both the Albuquerque and Las Cruces offices will be closed indefinitely to the public and to walk-ins for the safety of our staff, their families and the community we serve. Our lobbies will also be closed indefinitely.

DRNM will continue to provide services to current clients and reviewing new requests for services via alternate means. All trainings, public outreach events involving public gatherings have been canceled.  DRNM will schedule and participate in trainings that can be achieved through virtual means.

We are committed during this time to continuing our services to protect and advocate for people with disabilities.

If you need assistance, please contact us:
Tele: (505) 256-3100
Fax: (505) 256-3184
State-wide Toll Free: 1-800-432-4682

Mar 26, 2020

Disability Rights New Mexico has been a named plaintiff and part of the litigation team in the Kevin S. lawsuit to secure access to behavioral health treatment for kids in the custody of the state of New Mexico. Collectively we have reached an innovative settlement with the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and Human Services Department (HSD). DRNM is pleased to see that the goals in the agreement include increasing collaboration among child-serving agencies led by CYFD and HSD. The commitment to building a coordinated system of care that includes a wide array of services to eligible children in state custody throughout New Mexico is vital to their well-being. We hope that this will result in a statewide system which is necessary to ensure that all children in state custody and their families have prompt access to necessary services regardless of where they live. More information can be found at the link below.

New York Times Article:  New Mexico Agrees to Revamp its 'Broken' Foster Care System

State of New Mexico Press Release:

Mar 12, 2020

All Special Education Clinics that were scheduled for the month of March have been cancelled.

Nov 18, 2019

The Jackson class-action lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) and others in 1987, to protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were then institutionalized.  Since that time the state institutions closed, and a robust community-based system has grown.  Nonetheless, the lawsuit has remained open and active to ensure that the class members have sufficient home- and community-based services to protect their health and safety.  In the spring of 2019 the parties were able to negotiate a Settlement Agreement intended to end the lawsuit.  The judge approved and entered this Settlement Agreement (click here) as an order of the court on June 21, 2019.  DRNM and other plaintiffs’ attorneys put together a draft summary for ease of reading (click here).  The State has 18 months to comply with its remaining obligations to end the lawsuit.

Aug 1, 2019

Disability Rights New Mexico, as part of a coalition with other non-profit organizations and law firms working on economic justice and employment rights issues, has filed a lawsuit against Adelante Development Center, Inc. ("Adelante"), over Adelante's its illegal, abusive, and pervasive payment of subminimum wages to its employees with disabilities.  The lawsuit asserts that Adelante has illegally paid its workers less than New Mexico's and Albuquerque's minimum wage to hundreds of employees for many years.

Jun 24, 2019

Update on notice from DOH regarding individuals on the wait list for DD and Mi Via waivers.

DDSD has made multiple attempts to contact individuals in the allocation group.  Unfortunately, there are a significant number of individuals in each region that have not responded. 

Individuals with DD Waiver registration dates prior to the following dates, should contact DOH Intake & Eligibility as quickly as possible, at the numbers listed below:

Current Allocation Dates, Quadrants, and Contacts:
Metro - 05/26/2006
Kathryn Lesarlley - (505) 841-5522
Micky Carino - (505) 222-6699

Northeast - 08/23/2006
Renee Valerio - (575)758-5934

Northwest - 10/03/2006
Cheryle Anderson - (505) 863-9937, ext. 107

Southeast - 02/07/2008
Elizabeth Duran - (575) 624-6100, ext. 113
Mario Quezada - (575) 624-6100, ext. 115

Southwest - 12/12/2006
Bernice Rivera - (575) 528-5195
Nicole Hernandez - (575) 528-5181

Sep 24, 2018


Foster Youth File Lawsuit to Address Harm Inflicted by New Mexico's Broken Foster Care System.

Plaintiffs seek creation of a child welfare welfare system that ensures access to critical services and expertise capable of accommodating children coping with complex trauma.

Today 13 children who are in the foster care system filed Kevin S. v. Jacobson in federal district court in New Mexico.  They are joined by protection and advocacy organizations Disability Rights New Mexico and Native American Disability Law Center.  The plaintiffs are asking the State of New Mexico to fulfill its legal obligation to provide the state's 4,700 foster children with the essential care and stability that they need to grow and thrive.  To read more on this, please click here.
Feb 23, 2018

In litigation filed recently in state district court in Santa Fe, Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) is seeking a court order requiring the Department of Health (DoH) to license boarding homes, which often serve persons with mental illness or other disabilities but are currently unregulated.  For decades, the state of New Mexico had licensing regulations and requirements in place for boarding homes, but several years ago DoH unilaterally scrapped them.  DRNM has obtained a temporary order and will seek to make the order permanent, in which case DoH would have to promptly establish and implement licensure requirements.  DRNM on-site visits, our death investigation a few years ago, numerous complaints we have received from residents and guardians, and a series of reports published in the Albuquerque Journal have all raised serious concerns about the conditions in many of these homes.

May 22, 2017

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District is a victory for New Mexicans seeking special education and related services for children with disabilities.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) requires that State receiving funds to educate children with disabilities provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE). To meet the standards of a FAPE, the Court required that the IEP "must be appropriately ambitious in light of [the child's] circumstances," and acknowledged "every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives."  To read more on the ruling, click here.

May 25, 2016

Is your child getting all the behavioral health services that he or she is entitled to under Centennial Care?  Click here for more information.

Mar 24, 2016

The new Residential Accessibility Modification Program (RAMP) may be able to help you.

This program, sponsored by the Governor’s Commission on Disability, strives to improve the lives of individuals with physical disabilities by making improvements in their living situations.

For example, the RAMP may install ramps, roll-in showers, or grab bars in an individual’s home.

To qualify, you must: 1) be a U.S. citizen, 2) have lived in New Mexico for 6 months, 3) have a physical disability, as evidenced by SSI or SSDI benefits OR a statement from a physician, 4) have applied for all other available residential modification community resources, and 5) taxable or reportable income must be within 250% of the most current Federal Poverty Income level.

For more information on the RAMP click here and to apply for the RAMP click here.

Mar 16, 2016

Responding to a complaint filed by DRNM against The Peak, a children’s residential treatment facility in southern New Mexico, the state Children Youth and Families Department has confirmed DRNM’s authority to meet with youth in such facilities. It also confirmed that under state law, children who are 14 and older have the right to release mental health records to DRNM without parental consent.

Jan 28, 2016

Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) has issued a preliminary report on the findings of our investigation of the Peak, a residential treatment center in Santa Teresa, NM.  Click here to read the full report.

Oct 7, 2015
Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) has adopted its priorities for the year starting October 1, 2015.  This is a list of the issues that the agency plans to address and the kinds of individual cases it will accept this year.  Thanks to those of you who provided input and suggestions.  To see this year's priorities, click here.
Sep 24, 2015
Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) recently represented a student who was improperly denied special education evaluations from Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) decided in favor of the student and issued a corrective action plan to APS. The corrective action plan required that APS re-vamp its protocol for special education evaluations in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). In the past, APS could keep students indefinitely in the “Student Assistance Team” (SAT) process. For many students, the SAT process could stretch on for years as data was collected to support a determination that a student needed to be tested for special education eligibility. Now, APS will be required to pursue evaluating all students who are suspected to have a disability. Also, in accordance with state and federal law, APS will now be required to respond within 60 days to parental requests for special education evaluations. IDEA requires that within 60 days of a written parental request for evaluations, the school district must either 1) schedule the evaluations, or 2) file for a due process hearing. APS must have these new policies in place in accordance with the law by late October 2015.

Jul 28, 2015

Disability Rights New Mexico and The Arc of New Mexico recently brought a court case against the state challenging its use of the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) to decide who gets what DD Waiver services.  As part of a settlement of that case, the state is required to restore any services taken away from a DD Waiver participant after they took a SIS assessment.  DD Waiver participants must let the state know that they wish to have their old services returned, or else they will continue to get the services their SIS assessment assigned to them until their next Individualized Service Plan, or their is a significant change in health or other circumstances.


Jun 15, 2015

A court-approved agreement in a lawsuit brought by DRNM and others makes important improvements to New Mexico's Developmental Disabilities Waiver program.  Those who lost services in the past few years have a chance to get them back, and new service planning will be more person-centered.  Click on the links for a summary of the agreement and the changes to the DD waiver system and a copy of the agreement."

Apr 15, 2015

Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) is interested in hearing about your experiences as you've used behavioral/mental health services in New Mexico. Below are links to a survey that can help us advocate for better services.  If you're a family member or close friend of a behavioral health consumer, we want to hear from you, too.  All answers will remain anonymous, if you choose.  Share your story with us!

If you have used behavioral/mental health services, click here for the survey.

If you're the family member/friend of someone who has used behavioral/mental health services, click here for the survey.

Thank you!  Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Mar 13, 2015
The Preliminary Injuction Order is a fabulous result for DD Waiver participants, their family members, guardians and those who work with them.  Click here to read letter from DRNM and The Arc.  Click here to read analysis of the Memorandum Opinion and click here to read the two page Order.
Dec 9, 2014
Testing Accommodations for the PARCC Exam
The Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam is the new standardized test that New Mexico students grades 3-12 will begin taking in March 2015.  Some students with disabilities have been informed that they will receive a very limited set of accommodations while taking the PARCC exam.
Aug 28, 2014
DRNM and other plaintiffs in this case are seeking a Preliminary Injunction that would stop the state from reducing services based on SIS scores until participants are provided a real chance to appeal those reductions.  Federal District Judge Judith Herrera held hearings August 18-20, 2014, on our request.
Jul 22, 2014
In June 2014, we entered into an interim agreement to preserve services for those on the Waiver who had not yet transitioned into their new SIS group service packages. The interim agreement is in effect until the judge rules on the preliminary injuction or December 31, 2014, whichever comes first.
Jun 20, 2014
Self advocacy for the SIS Fair Hearings
Jun 19, 2014
Self advocacy for Medicaid Fair Hearings
Jun 18, 2014
Phone Numbers for Urgent Behavioral Health Care. If you are experiencing problems due to the behavioral health crisis, listed are phone numbers to call for assistance. For general needs 1-866-660-7185 (phone calls not being returned, no therapist, problems with medications or records).  For crisis 1-855-662-7474 (someone is in immediate need of assistance).
Jun 16, 2014
HSD stopped Medicaid funding to New Mexico behavioral health service providers in late June.



Click here for 2021 Legislative reports.


is seeking individuals who are interested in serving on the Board of Directors. Click here for information and application.


Are you interested in serving on DRNM's Mental Health Advisory Council? If you are, click here for information and application.


The Policy & Legislative Action Network (PLAN) is a group of individuals concerned with disability-related issues in New Mexico.  Click here for more information on the PLAN.


© Copyright 2014, Disability Rights of New Mexico

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