Programs for Pre-K

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Toddlers

Programs

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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:

  • Child care assistance helps parents, grandparents, or 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 quality, safe, healthy care for children.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

6 weeks to 13 years of age, or up to 18 years of age if special supervision is required.

How people can access the service:

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, the provider’s social security card and picture ID are needed).

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

What (if anything) it costs:

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.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

The Child Care Assistance Program subsidizes the cost of child care. To qualify, your family must:

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

Once your family is found 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, the location of the program, and the rating of the child care program (as determined by the Look for the STARS Quality Rating System).

Early Childhood Special Education

Mission:

To provide special education services and supports that allow young children with developmental delays and disabilities to reach their full potential.

Why it’s important:

Early Childhood Special Education and related services are required by the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state law. Eligible children receive specialized instruction and services to help them meet developmental milestones and prepare for their next steps in life. To the greatest extent appropriate, children receive these services alongside their non-disabled peers (“the least restrictive environment”).

Who / what age groups it’s for:

3-5

How people can access the service:

If you suspect your child has a delay or disability, contact your local school district. If your child is currently receiving services through the Family Infant Toddler program, your early interventionist will provide support during the transition to early childhood special education.

What (if anything) it costs:

Services are provided free of charge.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

Services are free.

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 it’s 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, dental and health care needs, and mental health services. The program also provides nutritious meals to children – and multiple referrals to community resources for families.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

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 people can access the 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 (if anything) it costs:

Services are provided free of charge.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

Services are free.

Family Nutrition

Mission:

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

Why it’s important:

The Family Nutrition operates two federal programs that provide reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks for children aged 0-18. 

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children who are enrolled at participating child care centers and homes. CACFP also provides reimbursements for meals served to children and youth participating in afterschool care programs and children residing in emergency shelters. 

During the summer months, ECECD works with community sponsors to serve meals to low-income children through the Summer Food Service Program. This program helps fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing organizations such as schools, non-profit organizations, child care centers, and after-school programs for providing healthy meals to children.

Who / what age groups it’s for:

0-18

How people can access the service:

For CACFP, enrollment takes place through your child’s early childhood program.

To find the nearest Summer Food Services site, please visit https://summerfoodnm.org/

What (if anything) it costs:

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.  

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. 

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

National USDA guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. These guidelines are updated annually and can be found at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/cnp/fr-032019

Home Visiting

Mission:

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

Why it’s important:

The home visiting program offers a range of informational, educational, developmental, referral, and other support services to families with young children. These services are delivered by well-trained, considerate staff who recognize that parents are their children’s first teachers.

Home visiting program services are tied to six overarching goals: 

  • Babies are born healthy
  • Children are nurtured by their parents and caregivers 
  • Children are physically and mentally healthy
  • Children are ready for school
  • Children and families are safe

Families are connected to formal and informal supports in their communities

Who / what age groups it’s for:

Prenatal – 3; selected agencies/counties serve children up to the age of five.

How people can access the service:

Families can access home visiting services in 31 of 33 counties in New Mexico by visiting the New Mexico Kids website.

What (if anything) it costs:

Services are provided free of charge.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

Services are free.

New Mexico PreK

Mission:

New Mexico PreK provides three- and four-year-old children the opportunity to attend a high-quality early childhood program before entering kindergarten.

Why it’s important:

New Mexico PreK helps young children develop a strong foundation for future learning, health, and behavior. In addition, NM PreK: 

  • Prioritizes the enrollment of children without access to high-quality programs
  • Supports linguistically and culturally sustaining curricula
  • Delivers meaningful opportunities for family engagement

Who / what age groups it’s for:

3- and 4-year-olds (in public schools, 4-year-olds only)

How people can access the service:

To find a private provider, please visit newmexicokids.org.

What (if anything) it costs:

Services are provided free of charge.

Whether there are income-based discounts, etc:

Services are free.