Child Care Assistance

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Introduction

The Child Care Assistance Program subsidizes the cost of child care for families at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (currently $52,400 for a family of four) that are working and/or in school. Once a family is determined to be eligible for Child Care Assistance, that family remains eligible up to 400% FPL—so a modest increase in income won’t mean losing Child Care Assistance.

The subsidy amount varies depending upon the age of the child, the type of child care, the location of the program, and the rating of the child care program (as determined by the Look for the STARS Quality Rating System). Regional offices are located throughout the state and are staffed by Eligibility Interviewers who work with families to determine the amount of subsidy they qualify for. To review child care assistance regulations, click here.

Check If You Are Eligible For Child Care Assistance

This survey provides a quick and easy way for New Mexico residents to determine if they are eligible ECECD  programs. 

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Child Care Assistance Application
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Need Child Care? Expanded Eligibility

Uploaded July 15, 2021 (PDF)

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Child Care Assistance Co-payment

What do monthly co-payment(s) total for a family of four with two children in care full time?

  • Uploaded August 17, 2021 (PDF)
  • English and Spanish

How do I apply for child care assistance?

Call or visit a Child Care Services Bureau field office. You will need to bring the following information with you when you apply for services:

  • Current proof of earned and unearned income (including child support income) for applicant and biological parent, step-parent, and/or legal guardian living in the household, if applicable
  • School schedule, if applicable, for applicant and biological parent, step-parent, and/or legal guardian living in the household (if applicable)
  • Verification of birth for all applicant children
  • Proof of residency
  • Name, address and phone number of the child care provider selected (for new registered home providers)

For more information on Child Care Assistance, contact your regional Child Care Assistance office, or call Early Childhood Services at (505) 827-7499 or 1-800-832-1321 or by email at Child.care@state.nm.us.

Need help selecting a Child Care Provider?

Click below to search for early childhood services in the state of New Mexico via NewMexicoKids Resource and Referral website. Services include Home Visiting Programs, Center and Home-Based Child Care, Early Intervention Programs, Head Start and Early Head Start, New Mexico PreK, and Special Education Preschool.

Or contact the NewMexicoKids Resource and Referral office at 1-800-691-9067 or email support@newmexicokids.org. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Care Assistance

Click tabs to see questions from new clients, current clients, and providers.

Q: What is child care assistance? 

A: Child Care Assistance helps income-eligible families pay a portion of child care costs while they work, attend school or training programs, job search or other eligible qualifying activities.  

Q: Who can apply for Child Care Assistance? 

A: Any parentor legal guardian who is working, going to school,actively looking for a job,or participating in a job training program who needs help withchild careexpenses.The applicant applying for child care assistance mustalsobe a resident of the state of New Mexico. 

Q: How do I apply for child care assistance? 

A:  There are 3 ways to apply for our Child Care Assistance Program:  

    1.  Visit one of our statewide local Child Care offices. Please see list of offices here (include link to office list).
    2.  Apply online (hyperlink to https://eligibility.ececd.state.nm.us). This website will allow you to complete an online application and enable you to upload required documents. Applying through this website will also allow you to track the status of your application. 
    3.  Another option is to apply through email by submitting the application and all required documents to ChildCareAssistance@state.nm.us.  The application and list of required documents can be found on our website at www.nmececd.org/child-care-assistance/under Child Care Assistance or you can contact us at our local offices to email/mail the documents to you. 
    Q: What documents do I need to provide with my application? 

    A:   See list of required documents here

    Q: Who can be counted in my household? 

    A: Biological parents, step-parents, and legal guardians of the children for whom child care assistance is sought and any legal dependents of the applicant who is living in the home of the applicant, including children, will be included in the household. Grandparents residing in the home can also be counted in the household.  

    Q: What income is counted for determining eligibility?  

    A: Countable income includes gross wages from employment, self-employment income, retirement/pensions, workman’s compensation, alimony, royalties, income from rental property, and some Social Security benefits. Examples of income that is exempt include TANF, food stamps (SNAP), employer reimbursements (mileage, uniforms, etc.), SSI and some Social Security benefits, VA disability, student loans or other payments for educational purposes, and child support. You can find more information and countable and non-countable income by viewing the child care assistance policies here. 

    Q: What are the income limits for my family size? 

    A: See current income guidelines here. 

    Q: How long does it take to get approved for child care? 

    A: Once all required documentation is received by our office, ECECD will process your application within 10 working days. This process may be delayed if you do not provide all the required documents with your application. If you do not submit all required documents, ECECD will send you a Notice of Action, telling you what documents are missing.  You will have 14 (fourteen) days to turn in these remaining documents. Your application will become denied if all required documentation is not received within that timeframe. 

    Q: Will the Child Care assistance program cover the full cost of child care? 

    A: The Child Care Assistance Program assists families with a portion of the child care costs. Families may be required share child care costs, which is called a copayment.  The copayment is determined based on the family size and the household income 

    Q: How is copayment determined? 

    A: (add to the current question) The ECECD Child Care Assistance Copayment schedule is developed from a calculation which considers family monthly income and family size. Copayments are determined for each child and based on the number of hours care is needed. Please see more about copay calculations here 

    Q: Can I still apply for child care assistance if I am not working, going to school, job searching or participating in a job training program? 

    A: The department may exempt a parent or guardian from the work/education requirement.  The exemption would be granted based on a submission of a demonstration of incapacitation through documentation such as letter from a medical professional, documents from a federal government agency that issues or provides disability benefits, etc.  

    Q: Are my expenses (rent, utility bills, or other expenses) taken into consideration when determining my eligibility and/or my copayment? 

    A: Eligibility and copayments are determined by gross monthly income and family size. Household expenses or income deductions are not considered. 

    Q: How do I pay the copayment? 

    A: You will pay your copayment directly to your child care provider each month.  Please discuss your  provider’s policies with them and review their parent/family handbook for more information. 

    Q: Are there any other fees I need to pay? 

    A: You may be responsible for gross receipts tax and incidental costs (such as a field trip or special lunch). Gross receipts tax is determined based on your city/county tax amounts. Providers cannot charge registration fees, educational/activity or supply fees, transportation fees or any other fees. Providers are paid by the department for these fees and should not be charging families. 

    Q: How do I find a child care provider? 

    A: Please visit www.newmexicokids.org or call 1-800-691-7067 

    Q: What else should I know about the program? 

    A: For more information on Child Care Assistance, please call Early Childhood Services at1-800-832-1321, contact your regional Child Care Assistance officeor email us at Child.care@state.nm.us. 

    Q: I need to make changes to my child care assistance contract, what do I need to do? (Examples: Change of provider, hours on contract, adding/removing a child or household member, change in activity, change needed for winter/summer break or school time, etc.) 

    A: You may report a change to your case worker by phone, email or visiting the local office.  Please ensure your email or voice message includes your full name, child’s name and date of birth or other identifying information to confirm your child care case. Please also include details of the changes you are needing to make such as start/end date, reason for the change, and your contact information. Please allow up to 48 hours for your worker to respond to you. Once all required documentation is provided, please allow up to 10 business days to process the change. 

    Q: I need to change providers. How soon can I take my child to the new provider?  

    A: You can change providers after you have given your current provider a two (2) week notice. Please report to your worker the date you gave notice, the last date of attendance, name of new provider and start date at new provider. Please also ensure any copayments owed are paid in full.  Please remember, if you do not give a two (2) week notice and change providers, you may be responsible for payment to your new provider until the two (2) week notice ends to your previous provider. 

    Q: I need a new daycare for the weekend but still need care during the week. 

    A: You may report a change to your case worker by phone, email or visiting the local office. Please also submit your change in work/school schedule.  Please be specific with the hours you need during the week and the hours you need on the weekend.  Your case worker will review your request and will process by sending out a contract or a notice of action. Please note, that the child care assistance program cannot provide care for more than a full-time contract for each child in care.   Therefore, if you need contracts for two (2) different providers, you will have two (2) part-time contracts. 

    Q: I need help finding a new child care provider.  What do I do? 

    A:  Please visit www.newmexicokids.org or call 1-800-691-7067 

    Q: I had a baby and need to add him/her to my child care contract.  What do I need to do? 

    A: Please contact your case worker and submit verification of birth for the new child. You may submit your request by email, phone or visiting the local office.  .    

    Q: I know I may have to pay a copayment. Are there any other fees I need to pay to the provider? 

    A: You may be responsible for gross receipts tax and incidental costs (such as a field trip or special lunch). Gross receipts tax is determined based on your city/county tax amounts. Providers cannot charge registration fees, educational/activity or supply fees, transportation fees or any other fees. Providers are paid by the department for these fees and should not be charging families. 

    Q: I do not need help with child care at this time. Can I stop or close my contract? 

    A: Yes, you can suspend your contract anytime during your eligibility period.  Please be sure to give your current provider a 2-week notice.  Please know your contract may be ended but your case will remain open and you will remain eligible for the remainder of the 12 month eligibility period.  If you wish to start your contract again, please submit your request to your case worker.  This can be done by email, phone or visiting the local office.  Please include the name of your provider and start date in your request. 

    Q: I had a change in my work/school activity (such as I lost my job, started medical/parental leave, stopped school, etc.). Can I still use child care? 

    A: Yes, you may continue using child care when you experience a temporary change to your activity, such as loss of a job, medical/parental leave, school breaks/holidays, seasonal employment ending, decrease in hours, etc.  It may benefit a client to notify their caseworker of a temporary change as it may decrease their copayment.  Clients can continue to use child care during the time they are experiencing a  temporary change.  Loss of a work or school activity is limited to 3 months of continued use of child care. 

    Q: My child care contract is due to end soon.  What do I need to do to renew my child care contract? 

    A: Please contact your caseworker by phone, email, or visiting the local office.  You will need to submit the following documentation and inform your caseworker of any changes to your contact information, household size and work/school activity. 

    • Completed and Signed Application 
    • Current proof of income from employment and self-employment 
    • Current proof of educational activity/school schedule for adult household members 
    • Any other updated documentation needed 

    If you are renewing your child care case, you are eligible up to 400% FPL to continue qualifying for child care assistance. It is very important for you to renew your contract no later than 30 days of your eligibility expiration in order to qualify at this income limit. 

    ECECD now has a Provider Dashboard where you can have easy access to many Child Care Services.  You can approve pending child care assistance contracts quickly, saving time and improving efficiency of child care payments.  You can view all children for whom you received payment, view payment dates, have access to your remittance statements and keep employee records up to date.  To gain access, please go to our ECECD website for additional instructions. EPICS Child Care Provider Dashboard Information and Support. 

    Q: Who should I contact if I did not receive a payment for a child? 

    A: Please contact the caseworker directly by phone or email.  You may also contact the local child care office.  If you are not already enrolled, it would benefit you to sign up on the Provider Dashboard.  Please see information here. (add link to Provider Dashboard page) This will allow you to verify active contracts, approve pending contracts, review history of payment remittances and other helpful information. 

    Q: I have a client that applied for child care but I have not received a contract.  When will I receive it? 

    A:  If you have not received a contract, we may be missing some required documentation in order to determine eligibility for child care assistance. You can ask the client if they received a Notice of Action and remind them to return the required documentation, or a contract may not be issued.  You may also contact the caseworker or the local child care office to inquire on the status of an application.  

    A:  Please also check your Provider Dashboard. To gain access, please go to our ECECD website for additional instructions. EPICS Child Care Provider Dashboard Information and Support | Early Childhood Education & Care Department (nmececd.org). 

    Q: What fees can I charge a client who receives child care assistance? 

    A: Providers may charge copayments, gross receipts tax and incidental costs (such as a field trip or special lunch). Providers cannot charge registration fees, educational/activity or supply fees, transportation fees or any other fees. Providers are paid by the department for these fees in their monthly reimbursement rates and should not be charging families. 

    Q: Currently the department is waiving copayments for some families. How can I know if a child’s copayment has been waived? 

    A: If copayment is waived, it will be noted on the client’s contract. The department is waiving copayments for most families until June 30, 2022. Families in all priorities, except Priority P4+, will not be required to pay a copayment through June 30, 2022.  The copayment will be included in the regular payment issued by the department for each child that falls in this category. Please note August 1, 2021, the department expanded eligibility to more NM families up to 400% FPL.  Families in these higher income limits are categorized as Priority 4+ and will have a copayment. The contract will indicate the client’s determined priority. 

    Q: A child has stopped attending my child care facility/home?  What do I need to do? 

    A: Providers must report to the Department within 14 calendar days of a child no longer attending your child care facility/home. Providers can email, fax or mail the notice of non-attendance to the caseworker or local child care office. 

    Q: I have been trying to contact a caseworker and have been unsuccessful.  Who else can I contact to discuss questions or concerns? 

    A: You may contact a Supervisor or Regional Manager at your regional Child Care Assistance officeor call Early Childhood Services at1-800-832-1321or email us at Child.care@state.nm.us. 

    Child Care Assistance Document Library

    Helpful Links

    How to Report Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

    External Link

    Regulations (Child Care Assistance, Child Care Licensing and Non-Licensed / Registered Homes)

    External Link