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New Mexico agency requesting additional $149 million for early childhood care and education


New Mexico agency requesting additional $149 million for early childhood care and education

December 15, 2023

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – State agencies around New Mexico are asking lawmakers for their annual budget. And the state’s Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) is asking for a big boost.

The department was created in 2019 to run a cohesive early childhood care system in the state. The agency operates a range of programs, from free home visits to an educational YouTube show. Now, they’re asking lawmakers for an increase of nearly $150 million in their upcoming budget to bring the total funding to more than $818 million.

“Because of bold investments by our state legislature and strong leadership from our governor, New Mexico has shot to the front of the pack in early childhood education and care,” ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky said in a press release. “Families across the state are feeling the benefits, and this budget solidifies those gains and maintains our forward momentum. This proposal will allow us to serve more children with high-quality care, keeps child care free for a majority of New Mexico families, and ensures that the early childhood workforce has the credentials they need and the compensation they deserve.”

The department wants to use the funds to add staff to their Child Care Services Bureau, boost access to infant and toddler care, and bring an additional 2,700 children into New Mexico’s Early PreK and the state’s PreK program, along with other programs.

In order to get the funding, the state’s legislators have to approve the budget request. The state is expecting to have an overall budget surplus of more than $3 billion, but many state agencies are hoping to get a share of that cash.

Original Article