Programs for Pre-K

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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 ,in a job training program or searching for employment 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 countable earned and unearned 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
  • Documentation of Incapacitation, if applicable
  • Verification of birth for all applicant children
  • Photo Identification for applicant
  • Proof of New Mexico residency, such as a lease/rental agreement or utility bill
  • ECECD licensed child care provider or registered home provider

    If you need help selecting a child care provider, please call the new Mexico 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 at or below 400% of the federal poverty level that are working, seeking employment, and/or in school in a job training program or searching for employment. 

    Beginning May 1, 2022, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) will waive child care assistance copayments through June 30, 2023 for any family that qualifies for the program.

    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.

    WHO / WHAT AGE GROUPS IT’S FOR:

    Early Head Start has two options:

    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 3- and 4-year-old children in a Center Based model

    How can I access this service?

    Families access services through an income-based application process. Find a NM Head Start location.

    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:

    No cost.

    Helpful links:
    Video Series:

    In partnership with the New Mexico Head Start Association, the Bernalillo Health Council and the New Mexico Head Start State Collaboration Office is releasing a series of videos addressing opioid and substance misuse in communities. An additional series of videos will soon be available in Spanish. Funding for the videos was awarded by the American Academy of Pediatrics on behalf of the Office of Head Start.

     

    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:

     

    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

    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 NewMexicoKids.org.

    What (if anything) it costs:

    No cost

    Helpful Links

    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.