Information for Parents

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Child Care Services

Mission:

To ensure equal access to high-quality, healthy, safe, and supportive child care environments.

Why it’s important:

The Child Care Services Bureau (CCSB) administers the Child Care Assistance and the Child Care Regulatory Oversight programs. The child care assistance program helps parents/legal guardians who are working, going to school or in a job training program with child care expenses.

The Regulatory Oversight Unit ensures that licensed child care centers and homes and registered homes provide a quality, safe, and healthy environment for children. In collaboration with other ECECD offices, the Child Care Services Bureau plans and coordinates quality child care services (including training, technical assistance, health and safety, and monitoring) and works to build child care capacity statewide.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

Children between the ages of 6 weeks and 13 years, or up to 18 years if special supervision is required.

How people can access the service:

For Child Care Assistance families are encouraged to apply online through Am I Eligible. You may also call or visit a Child Care Services Bureau field office. You will need to provide the following information 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, the provider’s social security card and picture ID are needed).

If you need help selecting a child care provider, please call Child Care Resource and Referral at 1-800-691-9067.

To learn more about becoming a Licensed / Registered home or center to provide child care please, click here.

What (if anything) it costs:

The Child Care Assistance Program subsidizes the cost of child care for families. In order to receive Child Care Assistance, you may be required to pay a portion of your child care bill. This is called a copay, and it is based on your income and family size.

To qualify, your family must be:

  • At or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and
  • Working and/or in school and have a need for child care.

Once your family is determined eligible for Child Care Assistance, you remain eligible until your income exceeds 250% of FPL. This means that if your income increases modestly, you won’t automatically lose your Child Care Assistance eligibility.
The amount of assistance your family receives—called a subsidy—will vary depending upon the age of the child, the type of child care setting, and the rating of the child care program (as determined by the Look for the STARS Quality Rating System).
To become a Licensed or Registered provider, there are fees that must be paid prior to being approved as a provider such as the Background Check processing fee and application fee.

Helpful Links

Early Childhood Special Education

MISSION:

The Special Education Division provides supports to districts, parents, and students with disabilities (SWDs) to ensure outcomes of a free, appropriate public education for students protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Division reviews data to make decisions that will impact support for SWDs to meet college and career-ready standards through equitable access to rigorous courses, high-quality instruction, and appropriate resources.

Why it’s important:

All students with disabilities are engaged in high-quality curriculum and instruction within inclusive educational environment opportunities, leading to deep learning, and resulting in college, career, and community readiness.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

3- to 5-year-old children

How people can access the service:

If you suspect your child has a delay or disability, contact your local school district. It is beneficial to submit your request in writing but not required. If your child is currently receiving services through the Family Infant Toddler (FIT) program, your early interventionist will provide support during the transition to early childhood special education.

What (if anything) it costs:

No cost

Helpful links:

 

Families FIRST Program

MISSION:

Families FIRST connects parents and caregivers of young children to health and wellness programs that improve health outcomes and assure safety net services. 

Why it’s important:

The program assists families in gaining access to medical, social, and educational resources that are necessary to foster positive pregnancy outcomes and promote healthy infants and children in New Mexico.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and children 0-3 years old.

How people can access the service:

Providers are welcome to refer any family that they feel would benefit from Families FIRST services.

Families First partners with programs including Women Infants & Children Program (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Text4baby.

What (if anything) it costs:

No cost.

This program serves Medicaid-eligible families.

 

Helpful Links

Family Infant Toddler (FIT) Program Early Childhood Intervention

Mission

To provide families of infants and toddlers with or at-risk of developmental delays with high-quality early intervention supports and services that are:

  • Accessible — to all groups and communities in New Mexico;
  • Respectful — of individual and family choices, priorities and cultural diversity; and
  • Family-centered — by working in partnership with families within their everyday routines, activities, and locations

Why it’s important

All children grow and develop at their own pace. However, sometimes children have special developmental needs or health concerns that may put them at risk for or cause a developmental delay. Early Intervention promotes child development and supports families whose child has or is at risk for a developmental disability or delay.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

New Mexico’s Early Intervention program for infants and toddlers, birth to age 3, and their families.

How people can access the service:

If you or your child’s doctor, child care professional, or other provider are concerned about your child’s development, please contact the local FIT provider agency in your county by calling 1-877-696-1472. (This is a toll-free number.) Your local FIT provider will set up a time to meet with you and complete a developmental evaluation for your child.

What (if anything) it costs:

FIT services are provided free of charge. When children age out of FIT services, they transition to the New Mexico public school system for ongoing support.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

Services are free.

Helpful Links

Family Nutrition Bureau

MISSION:

To contribute to the healthy growth, development, and wellness of young children and adults through nutrition support services in the State of New Mexico.

Why it’s important:

The Family Nutrition Bureau administers two USDA Child Nutrition Programs which provide federal funds to participating institutions to initiate and maintain non-profit food service programs for eligible children and adults.


WHO / WHAT AGE GROUPS IT’S FOR:

The Summer Food Service Program serves children ages 1–18.

CACFP serves all ages, though some CACFP programs serve specific age groups.

 

 

How people can access the service:

Summer Food Service Program: Any eligible (age) child can access benefits and services by visiting a designated meal site listed by location during the hours of distribution.

CACFP benefits are available to all enrolled participants. Enrollment takes place through your child’s early childhood program, which include Head Start programs, child care centers, before- and after-school care programs, family child care home providers, PreK programs, emergency housing shelters, hospitals and clinics, schools, preschools, and adult day care facilities.

What (if anything) it costs:

Participation in the Summer Food Program is free unless the child is enrolled in a “closed enrolled site,” such as a summer camp. In this case, rates could be charged based on your family’s Income Eligibility Application.

Participation in CACFP is free unless your early childhood program has opted to use the pricing program provision. In programs that do charge for meals, parents must complete an Income Eligibility Application in order to qualify for free meals. Otherwise, parents are required to pay a fee—either a reduced rate or a full rate, depending on family income.

Helpful Links

Early Head Start /
Head Start

Mission

To prepare children for school while providing families access to community resources and comprehensive support services to ensure their children’s success.

Why is this program important?

Early Head Start/Head Start is a federally funded program that prepares America’s most vulnerable children to succeed in school and beyond. Head Start programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way.

Because the program focuses on the family as a whole, children receive early screenings which may lead to early identification of developmental delays, lead poisoning, and dental, health care, and mental health service needs. The program also provides nutritious meals to children and referrals to community resources for families.

What age group does this program serve?

Early Head Start has two options: Home Based or Center Based. The Home Based program serves children prenatal to 3 and is available for working or non-working families.

Center Based programs serve children 6 weeks to 3 years old and are designed for working families.

Both options support families to transition to Center Based Head Start when age appropriate, or for those in Home Based to transition to Center Based Early Head Start when needed for working purposes.

Head Start provides preschool services for three- and four-year-old children in a Center Based model.

How can I access this service?

Families access services through an income-based application process. Children who have disabilities, are living under foster/kinship care, are receiving Survivor SSI benefits, are experiencing homelessness, or who face other risk factors have priority.

What does it cost?

No cost.

Are there income-based discounts?

Services are free.

Helpful links

 

Home Visiting

Mission:

Supporting New Mexico families to raise healthy, happy, successful children.

Why it’s important:

New Mexico provides a coordinated continuum of high-quality, community-driven, culturally and linguistically appropriate home visiting services that promote maternal, infant, and early childhood health, safety, development, and strong parent-child relationships. Home Visiting helps families to:

  • Gain knowledge regarding child development
  • Connect with community support services
  • Discover ways to support learning through play and interactions
  • Receive emotional support through challenges associated with raising a child
  • Access support to get out of dangerous or unhealthy situations

Who / what age groups it’s for:

Families with children prenatal through the first 5 years

How people can access the service:

Families interested in services can reach out directly to their local home visiting program to enroll. Contact information for local home visiting programs can be found on the New Mexico Kids website.

What (if anything) it costs:

No cost

Helpful Links

New Mexico PreK

Why it’s important:

Prepares three and four-year-old children for school readiness through funding from the Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

New Mexico Early PreK (3 year olds), New Mexico PreK (4 year olds) and Mixed-Age PreK  (3 and 4 year olds).

How people can access the service:

Families can access this service by contacting a participating private community program or a program within a public school setting.

New Mexico PreK Providers Interactive Map
What (if anything) it costs:

There is no cost for New Mexico PreK.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

N/A

Helpful Links

PreK