Created: June 29, 2020 05:24 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- On July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will deliver on a major promise she made during her campaign through the launch of the Early Childhood Development and Care Department.
New Mexico is one of only four states to launch a cabinet-level department that is aimed at promoting early childhood development.
Lt. Governor Howie Morales was an early advocate of the plan.
“We know that New Mexico has unfortunately ranked last when it comes to child well-being and quality of life for children. This is an opportunity to really have children get a seat at the table,” said Morales.
The department is launching at a challenging time – amid a global pandemic.
Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky understands the challenges.
“Our child care providers across the state have remained open during the pandemic. Many have had to choose to temporarily close due to a variety of factors but additionally our early intervention program and our home visiting programs moved very quickly to telehealth…. And with the support of the human services department and the flexibility in Medicaid they were able to continue to provide services to a majority of families.”
The department is also launching at a time when lawmakers were forced to slash its first operating budget during the special session.
“They’re hard decisions that had to be made by the legislature and I know the governor is still looking at it and taking a review of the budget. We need to continue to identify available funding that can support this important period of life – prenatal to five. Whether that’s federal funding through private sector partners whether that’s working more closely in collaboration with our local communities. Clearly we have a tough road ahead … so we plan to do everything we can to bring all available funds into this department because we know from the research that this period of life, when we invest in early experiences that are high quality and support families and children, the outcomes for our state are tremendous.”
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