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Judge Grace Duran named to children’s trust fund board

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed State District Judge Grace B. Duran of the Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces to the New Mexico Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) Board of Trustees, the court said in an April 21 news release.

CTF provides multi-year grants to support innovative, community-based programs for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, along with medical, psychological and other appropriate treatment for children who are victims of abuse or neglect from birth to adolescence.

Duran handles child abuse and neglect cases, adoptions, the juvenile delinquency docket and domestic relations cases, the news release said.

“I am devoted to protecting our children and am grateful to Gov. Lujan Grisham for placing her faith in me to help provide much-needed assistance to keep them safe,” said Duran. “By participating in this valuable program, I can help other members of the board identify areas of our state where children can benefit from the crucial resources available through the CTF.” Duran’s term is effective through March 18, 2023.

Administered by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, CTF was established by the New Mexico Legislature in 1978 under the leadership of then-first lady Alice King.

The purpose of the 13-member board is to award multi-year grants to organizations ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 annually. CTF grants provide seed funding for innovative projects intended to prevent or treat child abuse and neglect. Programs and projects must be unique for that community or the population being served, especially in areas where such services are scarce.

Duran has served as a Las Cruces district judge for 13 years. She was the first woman ever elected district judge in the Third Judicial District and is the recipient of the Outstanding Judicial Service Award from the State Bar of New Mexico.

Before serving as district judge, Duran was the first person appointed to the newly created position of child support hearing officer/domestic violence commissioner for the Third Judicial District and was instrumental in establishing the court’s mediation program. While in her second term as district judge, Duran was selected as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

Prior to her judicial service, Duran was in private practice specializing in family law and was a board-certified specialist in family law in Las Cruces.

A native of southern New Mexico, Duran graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law.