New Mexico is a great place to raise a family and the services offered by the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department can help make life less stressful and more affordable for many families. In addition to services offered to qualifying families, there are resources for every parent to use.
What is the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department (ECECD)?
Launched in July 2020, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department’s vision is to have all New Mexico families and young children thriving. Their mission is to optimize the health, development, education, and well-being of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers through a family-driven, equitable, community-based system of high-quality prenatal and early childhood programs and services. ECECD coordinates a continuum of programs from prenatal to five, ensuring that families in every corner of the state can access the services they need. This means that you as a parent or caregiver of an infant or young child have access to a range of programs, free of charge. It’s easy to apply for services.
Child Care Assistance
The Child Care Assistance Program, administered by the Child Care Services Bureau (CCSB), subsidizes the cost of child care for families at or below 400% of the federal poverty level (approximately $120,000/year for a family of four) when parents are working, in school, or searching for employment. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has waived copays for all families participating in the program, making child care cost-free for those who qualify. This service is for children between the ages of 6 weeks and 13 years, or up to 18 years if special supervision is required.
Visit ECECD’s New Mexico Child Care Finder website to find a child care provider in your area. There you can search for one of the 1000+ child care programs statewide, filtering by proximity, age of child, quality rating, tuition, language, program type, and more.
To see if you are eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program, take a quick survey. There you can also find a helpful video and other resources for parents and legal guardians.
The Regulatory Oversight Unit ensures that all early education settings provide a high-quality, safe, and healthy environment for children.
The Home Visiting Program is available for families with children prenatal through the first 5 years. What a child experiences in their first years of life makes a big difference in how their brain will develop and how they will interact with the world as they grow. Home visitors come to see you in the convenience of your home or via remote telehealth sessions. They provide tips to help your baby sleep safely, tips on breastfeeding and nutrition support, your self-care, how to find child care, how to prepare for school, and more. The Home Visiting Program is free for all New Mexico families regardless of income.
New Mexico PreK (NM PreK) is a free, voluntary program that delivers high-quality education in both community-based and school-based settings. NM PreK focuses on providing a fun, rewarding, and developmentally appropriate learning environment for children ages 3 and 4. If your child is between the ages of 3 to 5, he or she qualifies for PreK based on availability in your area. New Mexico is currently in the midst of a historic expansion of its PreK program, so there are now more PreK options than ever before to help your family meet its educational needs.
Family Infant Toddler (FIT):
The FIT Program is a statewide program that provides home and community-based early intervention services for families of infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. Early intervention provides therapy and developmental services, that are family-focused and teach families how to promote their child’s development throughout the day at home and in other settings.
The federally funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide free learning and development services to low-income families with children from birth to five years old and expecting parents. Head Start Programs promote the school readiness of children and provide a learning environment that supports the child’s growth preparing them for kindergarten and lifelong learning. The mission of these programs is to prepare children for school while providing families access to community resources and comprehensive support services to ensure their children’s success. The program also provides nutritious meals to children and referrals to community resources for families. Click here to apply for Head Start Services or to locate your local Head Start program.
Other EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION resources for parents
The Early Show with Alax is an animated series featuring an intergalactic character named Alax who interviews experts and families to “learn about little, tiny humans and how to care for them.” Each episode covers important topics about the basics of child care and development.
The Moments Together Step-by-Step guide is a list of easy, fun activities that parents and caregivers can do with babies and young children to help them learn and grow. This guide encourages parents through the power of play to make the most of the moments they already share with their children.This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead