Let’s Talk New Mexico 7/29 8am: Have you had trouble finding affordable child care? You’re not alone. Child care can cost over $20,000 a year in New Mexico and hundreds of child care centers closed during the pandemic, tightening the squeeze on an already precious resource. On July 1, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced an expanded eligibility for government assistance for child care. Starting next month New Mexican families making up to 400% of the poverty level -about $92,000 a year- are eligible for help.
Further, the state will also increase the amount of aid sent directly to child care centers to help employ more high quality caregivers. But a big chunk of the bill will be covered with federal pandemic relief money, meaning that it’s only guaranteed for a couple years.
Will your family benefit from the expanded eligibility for child care assistance? Does this feel like a step toward universal child care in New Mexico and is that a good idea? Maybe you own a small business and you’re waiting for workers to feel free to return to their jobs. Are you concerned that such an ambitious plan only has two years of funding? Maybe you think the federal government should step in with permanent funding, or that this spending is irresponsible while we’re still recovering from the pandemic economically.
Whether you’re hoping to get some assistance with those hefty child care expenses, you want more government services for more people, or you think this is a slippery slope toward more unaffordable entitlement programs, we want to hear your ideas. Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show.
- Katherine Freeman and Kate Noble, Growing Up New Mexico
- Elizabeth Groginsky, Secretary of New Mexico's Early Childhood Educations and Care Department
- Oriandi Mellas, early childhood educator, and mother to a daughter in child care
- Angela Garcia, President of New Mexico Child Care and Education Association and operator of The Toy Box Early Learning and Child Care Centers in Las Cruces
- New Mexico's Early Childhood Education and Care Department to apply for assistance, (505) 827-7499
- New Mexico’s Big Bet On Child Care Assistance, The Albuquerque Journal
- Early Childhood Education Expansion Could Empower New Mexico Women, Advocates Say, NM Political Report
- Questions And Answers On NM’s Child Care Expansion, The Albuquerque Journal
- The Cost of Inaction: How a Lack of Family Care Policies Burdens the U.S. Economy and Families - National Partnership For Women and Families