Families FIRST

VISION: All New Mexico families ​and young children are thriving​

MISSION: 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.

Are you seeking expert support to navigate pregnancy, infancy, and toddlerhood? Don’t face parenthood alone. Families FIRST is your trusted partner

What is Families FIRST?

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD), administers Families FIRST, a program designed to empower and support families through every step of their journey. Families FIRST offers a go-to support system during pregnancy, infancy, and throughout the first three years of a child’s life for Medicaid-eligible families in New Mexico. 

Families FIRST believes a healthy start early in life provides a foundation for a lifetime of positive growth, learning, and relationships. Our dedicated team is here to provide care and guidance, tailored to your family’s specific needs. Your Care Coordinator will be your own personal registered nurse who will connect you with programs, services, and learning opportunities right in your community. Registered nurses across the state are just a phone call away for you and your family.  

How do families access Families FIRST?

Providers are welcome to refer any family that they feel would benefit from Families FIRST services.  You can contact a Families FIRST representative at 1-877-842-4152 or by calling one of our regional offices listed below.  

NORTHEAST REGION: 505-487-6645  

NORTHWEST REGION: 505-660-8031  

SOUTHEAST REGION: 505-660-8627  

SOUTHWEST REGION: 505-660-7589 

Please call the office nearest you between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.   

We strive to serve all eligible New Mexico families. If you are unsure if services are available in your community, please contact the program to discuss options. 

What’s a Care Coordinator?

A care coordinator is your very own personal nurse who will complete a comprehensive and holistic assessment and will provide you with information on programs, services, and learning opportunities that are specific to you and are located right in your community. They will work with you during your pregnancy to support your goals as a parent and to support your child’s specific needs. You can call your Care Coordinator as often as you would like for additional support, to ask questions, express concerns, and even celebrate positive pregnancy outcomes and milestones in your child’s growth and development. Your privacy is always respected. You can visit with your Care Coordinator in the local office, in your home, by phone, or video chat (if available). 

Family Resources

Each community offers different resources for expecting families and those with young children. Here are just some resources we can connect you with:  
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Families FIRST Brochure

ECECD Leadership Contacts and Organizational Chart

Click here to download (PDF).

Updated April 26, 2024

Elizabeth Groginsky

Elizabeth Groginsky

Cabinet Secretary

ECECD is led by Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. Sec. Groginsky began her early childhood career in Head Start – first as a family services coordinator, then as an administrator of a Head Start program, and eventually as director of Colorado’s Head Start State Collaboration Office. Later, she directed early childhood education for United Way Worldwide and steered the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, a national coalition designed to improve state policies and practices around early childhood data systems.

Most recently, Secretary Groginsky served as assistant superintendent of early learning in the District of Columbia, spearheading the District’s efforts toward universal PreK and focusing on ensuring equal access for all families and young children.

Sara Mickelson

Sara Mickelson

Deputy Secretary

Mickelson has over 13 years of early childhood experience, beginning her career as a head start teacher and most recently serving as director of early childhood initiatives for Harris County in Texas. Mickelson served as chief of programs and chief of staff for the Oregon Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education. She also worked for the Bainum Family Foundation, where she led the policy strategy that resulted in the District of Columbia Birth-to-Three for All Act, a law aimed at expanding and improving early childhood supports in health and education. Mickelson holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree from Brown University. 

 Cotillion Sneddy

Cotillion Sneddy

Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care

Cotillion Sneddy was raised in Crownpoint, New Mexico in the eastern region of the Navajo Nation and comes from the Water-Flows Together people and born for the Start-of-the-Red-Streak people. She brings twenty-four years of experience in early childhood to the position, ranging from roles as a teacher assistant and home visitor in Head Start, a supervisor of student/teacher programs at the University of New Mexico, director of early childhood programs and operations in Tlicho, in the Canadian Northwest Territories, Early Literacy coordinator/coach, and most recently, teaching early childhood classes for Northland Pioneer College. She has also served on the Navajo Nation First Things First Regional Council.

The position of Assistant Secretary of Native American Early Education and Care, is mandated by the legislation establishing ECECD as a cabinet-level government agency with the goal of ensuring that early education and care in Native American communities is represented at the very top of the leadership structure. ECECD is the first and only state early childhood education department to create this type of position.