NM extends childcare subsidies
Over the next two years, New Mexico will increase income eligible for child care assistance from 200% of the federal poverty level to 350% of the federal poverty level with a phase-out to 400% of the level. poverty rate, officials said Thursday.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Department of Education and Early Childhood Care Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky, Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales and State Senator Michael Padilla spoke at a press conference Thursday to announce the change. The press conference was also part of a celebration of the first anniversary of ECECD, an agency established under the Lujan Grisham administration to improve early childhood education. The press conference was held in Santa Fe and online.
The department will use emergency funds available under the US federal bailout to increase aid from August 1. Groginsky explained how this would be better for parents but also for businesses as it could allow parents who have had to stay home due to child care. needs during the COVID-19 pandemic to return to work.
Lujan Grisham said she would like to see universal access to child care in the future and spoke about the importance of investing in children. She also spoke about the high cost of child care.
There will be a phase-out of aid if the family earns 400 percent of the poverty line, according to a department statement. This is intended to help parents who receive a modest income increase from the loss of aid.
Groginsky also announced that child care service providers will receive new child care subsidy rates, effective now.
âWe’re going to set the subsidy for what it actually costs to provide early childhood care,â Groginsky said.
The increase is expected to allow childcare providers to improve quality, expand offerings and expand access to care, said Groginsky.
New Mexico is the first state, along with the District of Columbia, to receive approval from the US Department of Health and Human Services to use the costing model that is the basis of the new rates for providers , according to the press release.
âThis is the largest eligibility expansion in the history of our child care assistance program,â Lujan Grisham said in the statement. “And this change establishes virtually universal free or discounted child care in New Mexico for at least the next two years, as our economy recovers and New Mexicans return to work.”