Survey aims to gain parents’ perspectives on childcare needs

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Since 2020, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department has detailed several programs aimed at benefitting families with children, especially those under age five.

Just this month, the state announced around 30,000 families would have access to free childcare, thanks to federal relief money. Before, these families were paying anywhere from $1,000-to-$15,000 each month.

“The research is pretty definitive and pretty clear that, when you invest in high-quality, early childhood programs and services, the return can be anywhere from $7-to-13 for every dollar invested,” said NM ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “And that’s in terms of lower special education rates in our schools, lower juvenile justice and juvenile detention issues later in life because those children have had the strong foundational learnings that help them self-regulate that help them attend to tasks. families are well supported.”

According to Secretary Groginsky, there are around 125,000 children, under the age of five, who stand to benefit from the state’s services – including around 12,000 families using childcare assistance. There are around 14,000 children who are in an early intervention program and 6,000 families who use home visiting.

“When we can give families what they need – and not have them struggle and stress about how they’re going to make ends meet – they can build their family’s wealth, they can focus on building those assets within their family to break the cycle of poverty, to do better for their family,” the secretary said.

The real question is how New Mexico families feel about these programs — Are they working? Do they need to be improved? Even if you don’t use these programs, why not? This is where the state needs your help.

“We know that, if we’re going to build a system that puts families at the center, we need the honest and direct feedback from families about how they’re currently experiencing the system,” the secretary stated.

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department’s survey takes around 10-15 minutes and asks questions about families who both use or don’t use the programs being offered. It also asks about what barriers families are experiencing and what the state can do to help.

The survey is a first for the department and it is available in multiple languages. The deadline to fill it out is May 31.