Albuquerque families and parents throughout New Mexico can benefit from the wide array of services provided by the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department (ECECD). Whether you’re an expecting parent or already raising young children, these resources are designed to make family life both more manageable and affordable
WHAT IS THE NEW MEXICO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE DEPARTMENT (ECECD)?
The ECECD, launched in July 2020, aims to see all New Mexico families, including those in Albuquerque, and their young children thrive. The mission of this department is to enhance the health, growth, education, and general well-being of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers via a family-oriented, equitable, community-supported framework of top-notch prenatal and early childhood services and programs. ECECD coordinates a continuum of programs from prenatal to age 5, ensuring that families in every part of the state can access the important services. This means that you as a parent or caregiver of an infant or young child have access to a range of programs, free of charge. It’s easy to apply for services.
CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE
For families in Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico, the Child Care Assistance Program, managed by the Child Care Services Bureau (CCSB), subsidizes child care costs for households at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. When parents are employed, studying, or seeking work, this service is available. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has waived copays for all families in the program, making child care free for those who qualify, a boon for families of children aged 6 weeks to 13 years, or up to 18 if special care is needed.
ECECD’s New Mexico Child Care Finder website helps Albuquerque families find local child care providers. You can discover more than 1000 child care options throughout the state, filtering by distance, child’s age, quality rating, tuition, language, program type, and more.
To find out if you’re eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program, simply take a quick survey on the department’s website. Resources such as informative videos for parents and guardians can also be found there.
The Regulatory Oversight Unit oversees the quality, safety, and health standards in all early education environments.
Albuquerque families can take advantage of the Home Visiting Program, free for all New Mexico families. This service provides support for families with children from the prenatal stage through the first five years, offering insights into child development, baby safety, nutrition, self-care, school preparation, and more.
The New Mexico PreK (NM PreK) program, offering free quality education for children ages 3 and 4, is expanding across the state, including Albuquerque. If your child falls into this age range, there are now more PreK choices to suit your family’s educational desires.
FAMILY INFANT TODDLER (FIT):
FIT is a statewide program that caters to families of infants and toddlers who are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. Albuquerque families can access therapy and developmental services, focusing on family-oriented ways to encourage child growth at home and elsewhere.
Head Start programs are free to low-income families, fostering school readiness in children up to 5 years old. These programs not only prepare children for school but also provide nutritious meals and links to local resources, a valuable service for families in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. Click here to apply for Head Start Services or to locate your local Head Start program.
OTHER EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION RESOURCES FOR ALBUQUERQUE PARENTS
Parents can also explore resources like The Early Show with Alax, an animated series starring an intergalactic character named Alax, who interviews experts and families to “learn about little, tiny humans and how to care for them.”
Another resource is the Moments Together Step-by-Step guide, featuring simple activities for parents and young children. These tools reinforce the importance of play and learning in the everyday moments that Albuquerque families share with their children.
This story sponsored by the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department