FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2023
SANTA FE, NM – Today, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) announced proposed regulations that will ensure that qualifying New Mexico families will continue to receive free child care through its child care assistance (CCA) program and child care providers will receive increased rates. These proposed changes build on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s vision for universal, high-quality early care and education. Child care businesses will continue to receive the benefits of expanded eligibility and the Competitive Pay for Professionals grant, which is set to expire in August 2023.
“No other state in the nation is doing more to relieve the financial burden of child care for families and make sure early childhood educators are fairly compensated for the incredibly important work they do,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This administration is committed to continuing our groundbreaking work to build an early childhood system that lifts up families and supports bright futures for our children.”
“The expanded child care assistance program allows me to work full time to provide for my children,” Said Vicki Sampler, a single mother of four in Curry County, NM. “I can go to work with peace of mind knowing that my children are safe and receiving quality care and education from trusted professionals. I would have never been able to afford that kind of care without the child care assistance program and waived copays. Now I have flexibility in my budget to afford little league for my kids and other family activities that I wouldn’t have had time or money for otherwise.”
Over the last three years, New Mexico has been at the forefront of innovation and investment in early childhood, using federal relief funds to stabilize the child care industry, advance a diverse, well-compensated and credentialed workforce while reducing the financial burden for families who need child care. Governor Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico State Legislature made historic investments in early childhood programs and services for fiscal year 2024. A significant amount of this increase is a result of the fact that more than 70 percent of New Mexico voters approved using a portion of the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education.
Future Generations Early Learning Center in Clovis, NM is one of the child care providers that will benefit significantly from the new CCA rates, with an estimated monthly revenue increase of $19,000.
“The increased revenues provided by these new rates will help our center better serve children and families, our employees, and our community,” said Ashleigh Tackitt, center director at Future Generations. “With this additional support, we can invest in improved learning environments, hire more staff to lower student-teacher ratios, and provide more individualized care and education for the children we serve. Increased wages for our staff have given them the security they needed to quit second jobs, spend more quality time with their own families, pursue early education degrees and credentials, and commit to early education as a viable long-term career.”
In April 2022, ECECD expanded income eligibility for child care assistance to families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) – approximately $120k/year for a family of four – and waived all parent copays, making child care free for most New Mexico families. The proposed regulations build on these improvements and include the following:
“Our proposed changes add to a set of historic and generational investments in New Mexico’s prenatal-to-age-five system that will be a game changer for families and young children in our state,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, ECECD Cabinet Secretary. “Enabled by the Governor’s vision and the New Mexico state legislature’s strong support for early childhood programs and services, we are embarking on the largest expansion of PreK in state history, increasing early intervention provider rates to support high quality services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities, expanding our home visiting programs to serve more families in more counties, and leveraging federal Head Start resources to better meet families’ needs.”
A full copy of the new proposed CCA regulations are available on the ECECD website here: 5.3.23 Notice of Rulemaking and Public Rule Hearing | Early Childhood Education & Care Department (nmececd.org)
Members of the public may submit written comment on the proposed regulation changes to ECECD via the website linked below by 11 a.m. on June 22, 2023. Public can also provide oral comment at a public hearing at the time and date below:
June 22, 2023 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Zoom and telephone options will also be available for those who cannot attend the public hearing in person. More information on the public hearing and instructions for submitting comment is available on the ECECD website: 5.3.23 Notice of Rulemaking and Public Rule Hearing | Early Childhood Education & Care Department (nmececd.org)
ECECD will consider public comment to make any amendments needed to the proposed rules based on the important perspectives of the public prior to finalizing the rules.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham launched the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) in 2020, making New Mexico among the first states to consolidate all early childhood programs and services under a single cabinet-level agency. Under this administration, ECECD has led the nation by expanding access to free New Mexico PreK, overseeing the largest investment in early childhood infrastructure in state history, and implementing cost-free child care for a majority of New Mexico families. Learn more about how ECECD supports children, families, and the early childhood professionals that serve our communities at nmececd.org. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @NewMexicoECECD.