Investments in Early Childhood Paying off for Kids and Families
SANTA FE — Governor Susana Martinez announced today that New Mexico is a national leader in providing child care assistance to kids. According to the first annual New Mexico Child Care Data Report from the University of New Mexico’s Center for Education Policy and Research, New Mexico is ranked 10th in the country when it comes to providing child care assistance to all eligible children and first in the country when it comes to providing child care assistance to eligible Hispanic children.
“Expanding opportunities for early childhood learning is one of our top priorities – because every New Mexico child deserves a chance to succeed,” Governor Martinez said. “Our goal is to make New Mexico the best place to be a kid. And though we still have a lot of work to do, we’re making progress and we won’t quit fighting for our children.”
Governor Martinez and her administration have steadily increased investment in early childhood spending by more than $55 million, serving more than 27,000 kids a year. Additionally, through various community and federal partnerships, New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) invested more than $97 million in the last fiscal year in child care alone. New Mexico is also a national leader in outreach to bring child care and early childhood opportunities to Hispanic families.
Among other highlights of the report, nearly 90 percent of families receiving child care assistance reported that it enabled them to work. Seven percent reported they were able to enroll in school, and six percent that it enabled both. Across the board, New Mexico’s investments in early childhood opportunities are making life better for New Mexico’s kids and families.
“Child care plays a major role in our effort to improve the quality of life for our children, as well as in preventing child abuse and neglect,” said CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson. “This report is a result of the successful collaboration between CYFD and many of our state and community partners, providers and advocates who all have the same goal to improve the quality of life for all New Mexico children.”
This ranking comes on the heels of the National Institute for Early Education Research’s May 2016 ranking showing New Mexico improved 10 spots in funding for early childhood education, moving to 18th in the country. In the fall of 2015, CYFD convened a working group to look for ways to improve the quality of and access to child care assistance, early childhood education, and other learning opportunities for New Mexico’s kids. The child care data report was produced by the working group, consisting of child care providers and professional associations, children’s advocates, state and local leaders and other stakeholders.