State and Federal Funding Early Childhood Education

In FY20, PED PreK received an appropriation of $42.5 million, $3.5 million of which was from federal TANF funds. PED PreK also transferred $2.6 million from the Public PreK Fund in order to support the enrollment of additional children.

How is New Mexico Doing?

New Mexico is defining High Quality Child Care programs as those successfully completing the criteria at FOCUS Levels 3, 4, and 5. FOCUS on Young Children’s Learning, New Mexico’s TQRIS, moved out of the pilot phase in 2016 and was fully implemented in 2018. FOCUS provides early childhood program personnel with the criteria, tools, and resources they need to improve the quality of their programs. Since the implementation of FOCUS the number of programs in STAR level 3–5 has increased by 285%.

What does this mean?

  • High-quality child care narrows school readiness gaps and has a strong return on investment because children are less likely to need remedial education and more likely to graduate high school, attend college, and be employed as adults. Access to reliable, affordable, high-quality child care promotes family economic security – increased child care investments subsidizes the cost of working and boosts take home pay.
  • Child care investments support the economy by improving productivity and labor force participation, especially for mothers.
  • National research shows families with access to child care subsidies are more likely to be employed or in school, and experience fewer work disruptions related to child care.
  • Access to affordable child care would boost the New Mexico economy by an estimated $1.26 billion annually. (Source: Center for American Progress)

When families need to use child care, it is important that their children are enrolled in the highest quality care possible. Children who have spent time in high quality child care environments have lasting benefits from the experience. Research indicates that children who receive a high quality early childhood education have better math, language and social skills as they enter school, and as they grow older require less special education, progress further in school, have fewer interactions with the justice system and have higher earnings as adults (Barnett, 1995).

How does New Mexico compare to the nation?

New Mexico’s child care system has made marked gains in the nearly 20 years since the state adopted the nation’s first TQRIS . High-quality practices are now more widespread than ever before, and more low-income children are able to access this improved quality. Not all states have a Quality Rating and Improvement System [QRIS]. In some states the QRIS is statewide and in other areas, the QRIS is regionally-based. In addition, some states attached their QRIS to their basic license and it is mandatory. Not all states have a tiered system attached to their reimbursement level. With the purpose of incentivizing child care programs serving low income children to increase their quality, New Mexico has implemented a voluntary Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels. Programs earn their rating by undergoing a comprehensive verification process against set standards