FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Bieber
Early Childhood Education and Care Department
FIT and Families FIRST Programs Transition from Department of Health to Early Childhood Education and Care Department
Santa Fe – Two of the state’s longest-running support programs for young families have transitioned from the Department of Health (DOH) to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD). The transition took place on July 1, upon the official launch of ECECD as New Mexico’s newest cabinet-level agency.
Family Infant Toddler (FIT) Program
Since its founding over 30 years ago, the Family Infant Toddler (FIT) Program, in DOH’s Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD), has provided families of infants and toddlers with developmental delays – or at-risk of such delays – with high-quality early intervention supports and services that are accessible, respectful, and family-centered. Each year, the program serves more than 16,000 children ages 0-3, making significant differences in the health and well-being of children and families.
“This is a very positive move for the youngest children in New Mexico with – or at-risk for – developmental disabilities. I’d like to publicly recognize Kathey Phoenix-Doyle and the FIT staff (Lisa Rohleder, Karen Burrow, Heidi Roibal, Hyacenth Sedillo, Leah Titla) for their dedication, as well as so many others who have worked with the FIT Program. DDSD would also like to thank Deb Vering and her Administrative Supports Bureau staff for their work in creating a smooth transition to the new department,” said Marc Kolman, DDSD Deputy Director.
Parents, doctors, or child care professionals who are concerned about a child’s development can contact their local FIT provider agency by calling 1-877-696-1472. (This is a toll-free number.) FIT services are provided free of charge; additional information is available at nmececd.org.
Families FIRST Program
Since 1994, Families FIRST has offered nurse case management, including screening and linkage to services, for Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and children ages 0-3. Families FIRST Care Coordinators help families maintain healthy pregnancies – and healthy infants and toddlers – through clinic-based, home-based, and telephone-based visits, as well as through referrals to nurse family partners, FIT, WIC, and St. Joseph’s Home Visiting.
Care Coordinators also provide education on prevention, transmission, and self-care in relation to COVID-19.
For more information call Brenda J. Romero, RN Families FIRST Nurse Program Manager, at 1-505-660-9079. Additional information is available at nmececd.org