SANTA FE — Governor Susana Martinez today announced extended, year-long eligibility for child care assistance for families in need. With today’s change, more families will be able to keep kids enrolled in high-quality child care programs for a longer period of time without having to reapply.
Families will now be able to maintain eligibility for child care assistance for 12 consecutive months before needing to reapply. Previously, the longest eligibility certification period was six months. This change will help reduce temporary lapses in eligibility due to work, school, or other life circumstances, allowing more kids and families to continue accessing high-quality child care.
“High-quality child care is an important part of giving our kids and families the best chance to succeed,” Governor Martinez said. “By making it easier for families who need these valuable services to stay enrolled, we’ll help improve the quality of life for more New Mexico kids.”
Children, Youth, and Families Department data shows that kids and families participating in child care assistance can be 50 percent less likely to be involved in abuse or neglect.
“Right now, less than one-third of those who may be eligible for child care assistance take advantage of this valuable program,” said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson. “Child care assistance is an important tool to reduce abuse and neglect. We want more New Mexico families to participate, which will reduce the number of families that may be leaving their kids with inappropriate caretakers.”
Earlier this year, Governor Martinez also announced a $3.5 million expansion of New Mexico’s Early PreK pilot program, bringing the total investment to more than $10.5 million over the last two years. Since 2011, Governor Martinez has increased child care assistance program funding by more than $17 million. Over the same time period, early childhood funding at CYFD has grown by more than $55 million, now serving more than 25,000 New Mexico children annually.
In May, the National Institute for Early Education Research released a State of PreK report showing New Mexico improved 10 spots in rankings for funding for early childhood education, moving to 18th in the nation.
CYFD has also launched a program to provide child care assistance to more at-risk families — those who’ve had multiple interactions with the department’s Protective Services Division.
For more information on child care assistance and the 12-month contract certification, call (800) 832-1321 or visit PullTogether.org to find a list of regional child care assistance offices in your area.