Pegasus Legal Services for Children works with policy makers to ensure that children’s needs and rights are taken into consideration in the development of state and local laws, policies and regulations.
Pegasus is a trauma-informed practice. The team’s awareness of how trauma impacts youth, families, and the community informs and orients the work we do with – and on behalf of – clients of all ages.
Pegasus was instrumental in initiating the Kevin S. settlement, a groundbreaking agreement bridging foster youth, child advocates, nationally recognized experts, and New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and Human Services Department (HSD) to transform the State’s child welfare system. The lawsuit is bold, collaborative move by New Mexico’s civil legal community. It has the potential to inspire true transformation in both state agencies, such that they will become national leaders in the area of children’s law.
The Monitoring and Implementation Team is spearheaded by Pegasus, Disability Rights New Mexico and the Public Counsel. The collective will receive and analyze data from the state agencies and seek input from community stakeholders as the implementation process proceeds.
Pegasus works with detained youth to protect their civil rights while they are incarcerated, including mental health treatment, education, and appropriate family contact. The team educates youth (and the community organizations that serve them) so they have the information they need to self-advocate.
Pegasus was the part of the leadership team to develop the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) court, an entity that respects the filial and tribal bonds that have historically been disregarded or misunderstood in child welfare proceedings. The court aims to protect tribal sovereignty, the child’s bonds to their heritage, and to ensure states comply with the law.
Pegasus partners with the ICWA court to help support, protect, and actualize the rights of Native children and youth. Pegasus provides no cost, full representation for these children when it is appropriate.
Pegasus has been appointed by the New Mexico Supreme Court to be a member of the Children’s Court Rules Committee and the Children’s Court Improvement Commission. These groups establish and reform the processes and procedures of children’s law in New Mexico.
Pegasus educates the community and young people about youth rights. The team visits homeless shelters to make presentations and to learn if the youth are in CYFD custody. If so, they work to confirm that their youth attorneys are advocating for them in an appropriate, holistic manner.