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2024 Public Policy Platform

Introduction: The New Mexico Child Care & Education Association promotes policies designed to increase access to affordable, high-quality early care and education programs for all children and their families in New Mexico. This public policy platform presents current and emerging policy issues in early care and education that are consistent with the New Mexico Legislature, the Early Child Education & Care Department programs, policy, and potential rule changes. The platform delineates each agenda item in bold, followed by examples of efforts that proposed rule changes, legislation, and the proposed state budget may address.

Support efforts to enhance the quality of early care and education that set high standards for all services and program types and address the needs of all children, including those with disabilities and other special needs, and their families.

Such efforts should include, but not be limited to:

  • Addressing children's early care and education needs from birth through age 12, including infants and toddlers, preschool and school-age children, children with disabilities and other special needs up to age 22, and their families.

  • Enhancing the quality of centers, family childcare homes, and license-exempt care providers.

  • Promoting a strengthening family’s approach to meet the needs of children at risk for abuse, neglect, or sexual exploitation or under the supervision of the child welfare system and children of families under the supervision of Probation.

  • Integrating early identification and intervention systems that recognize and respond early to young children who may be at risk for disabilities and other special needs.

  • Developing policies encouraging collaboration between early care and education programs, locally funded projects, and public agencies that foster child and family well-being through coordinated services.

  • Incorporating optimal health promotion policies and procedures as an integral component that contributes to the overall quality of early care and education services and programs.

  • Engaging parents as their child’s first teachers and partners in promoting their child’s optimal growth and development.


Support efforts to develop and sustain a well-educated and highly skilled professional workforce prepared to serve New Mexico's culturally and linguistically diverse child and family populations.

Such efforts should include, but not be limited to:

  • Focusing on teachers and other members of the workforce gaining skills and demonstrating competencies in the following areas: forming relationships and interacting with children, providing instructional support to children, best practices in working with dual language learners, proficiency in recognition and response to children with disabilities and other special needs, health and nutrition best practices, trauma-informed practices, engaging parents and guardians, and expertise on the spectrum of child development from birth through early adolescence.

  • Workforce practice must be based on established early care and education research.

  • Offering coursework and instruction responsive to a multilingual, multicultural workforce, including, but not limited to, providing content in students’ home language and offering classes during non-traditional hours.

  • Expanding and integrating early childhood mental health consultation into early care and education programs to support the workforce in meeting children's social, emotional, and mental health needs.

  • Expanding early childhood educators’ access to higher education through stipend programs, grant funds, loan forgiveness programs, higher compensation when attaining post-secondary degrees, and benefits (i.e., health insurance and retirement plans). 

  • Facilitating coordination and articulation of child development or early childhood education coursework between the ECECD, Higher Education Department, and New Mexico University systems.

  • Working towards developing an Early Childhood Career Lattice that supports home and center providers and the Early Childhood Educational Environment and provides college credit hours for years of Early Childhood Education classroom experience.

  • Training and supporting teachers and other professionals through distance learning strategies.


Support efforts to ensure that children and their families have timely access to early care and education services during a local, state, and national emergency.

Such efforts may include:

  • Increasing and extending funds ongoing to subsidize early care and education services of the essential workforce and at-risk populations.

  • Enhancing child care resources and referral services to directly connect families impacted by the emergency with early care and education programs with the capacity to serve them.

  • Waiving liability due to damages relating to COVID-19 infection, transmission, or other related conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Provide childcare assistance subsidies to law enforcement, military, community safety, teachers, and medical workforce regardless of income.

Support efforts to expand the supply of appropriate early care and education services through facility development in communities with a significant shortage of these services.

Such efforts should include, but not be limited to:


  • Facilitating the cost and technical assistance of practical construction or renovation of early care  and education – centers and family child care homes – facilities in communities with unmet needs for these services.

  • Integrating early care and education inclusive of centers and family child care homes in specific plans for land use, housing, transportation, economic, workforce, and community development.

Support efforts to ensure that vulnerable children and their families access consistent, uninterrupted subsidized early care and education services.

Such efforts should include, but not be limited to:

  • Making sure that all families have access to child care and education services, ensuring that all participating families are afforded the time and information needed to evaluate their child care and education options and make sound choices, and allowing parents to pursue or maintain employment, address mental health issues and other health issues.

  • Ensuring that all children have equal access to child care and Pre-K, removing all barriers from parents to be eligible for Child Care Assistance.

  • Promoting, facilitating, and supporting consistent and continuous participation of children under the supervision of CYFD and their families in high-quality programs that promote healthy child development and support effective parenting.

  • Ensuring that all subsidized children – infants and toddlers, preschool-age, and school-age children – and their families have access to consistent and continuous high-quality early care and education services that partner with parents to promote children’s healthy growth and development and prepare them for school and life, and meet the needs of families.

  • Addressing the needs of pregnant and parenting teens to ensure their access to high-quality early care and education services that support their academic goals, promote positive and practical parenting skills, and contribute to their child’s healthy growth and development.

  • Facilitating access to high-quality early care and education programs that are responsive to the unique needs of children and families experiencing homelessness.


2024 Legislative Session


  • Supporting a 5% increase to the ECECD General Fund Budget.

  • A Gross Receipts Tax Deduction Exemption for childcare assistance revenue that will apply to all for-profit child care centers.

  • Ensuring that all revenue from the Early Childhood Trust Fund is invested in children 0-5 years of age.

  • Classify Head Start, county, and city-run NM PreK programs as school-based programs instead of community-based programs since they are government agencies.


2024 Regulatory Changes


  • A better process for families to get approved for Childcare Assistance.

  • Removal of the COVID reporting requirement since it is not a state or federal mandate.

  • Development of a Workforce Lattice that gives center and home providers room to make retention decisions, including early childhood education work experience and continuing education through conferences and workshops.

  • A complete evaluation of rate increases and recommend 2023 rate increases, including wage increases, health insurance options, and retirement benefits.

  • Clear transparency of the cost model used to generate the childcare assistance rates.

  • Continue recognizing the National Accredited programs as a 5-Star during and after the Focus Redesign.

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