New Mexico Makes Significant Progress in Putting Young Children on a Path to Success

The close of the 2013 New Mexico legislative session resulted in several significant wins for young children, including new accountability for home visiting programs and additional funding for home visiting, child care, pre-k, and early literacy.

Senate Bill 365, the New Mexico Home Visiting Accountability Act, garnered bi-partisan support for a “standards-based” approach to home visiting.  This Act differs from the “evidence-based” frameworks many states are adopting by ensuring a level of accountability for meeting standards, reporting outcomes, and understanding the State’s return on investment. 

Senate Bill 113 provides $9.75 million in increased funding for early childhood education from the State’s tobacco settlement money. 

  • $2 million will go to home visiting, a 36% increase;  
  • $5.75 million to NM PreK, a 50% increase in funding for Public Education Department PreK and a 63% increase in funding for Children, Youth and Families Department PreK; and
  • $2 million to increase child care assistance rates for 3-STAR, 4-STAR and 5-STAR early care and education programs.    

The legislature also appropriated an additional $5.5 million for NM PreK, $7 million for child care assistance, $5 million for K-3 Plus (which provides extra school days in the summer for early elementary grades), and $2.5 million for Reads to Lead (which provides reading coaches and reading interventions in the early grades of public schools). 

An analysis completed during the legislative session showed the appropriation tied to SB 113 would mean that an additional 1,500 to 1,700 4-year-olds will get NM PreK services, 500 to 600 more families will receive home visiting services; and about one-third of the state's 1,035 licensed early care and education programs will get higher reimbursement rates under child care assistance.   In addition, about an equal number of NM PreK children will be served in CYFD and PED by the increase in funding to NM PreK.

The successes in New Mexico are the result of coordinated advocacy led by the NM Early Childhood Development Partnership, NM Association for the Education of Young Children, and NM Voices for Children.  Contributing to the win were the Alliance for Early Success Partners including Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and the Committee for Economic Development.  Aligned partners included the Pew Center on the State Home Visiting Campaign.  Many thanks to all who helped make this session so successful for young children in New Mexico!

Thanks to our guest bloggers from New Mexico for sharing their successes:  Katherine Freeman (NM Early Childhood Development Partnership), Veronica C. Garcia (NM Voices for Children), and Baji Rankin (NM Association for the Education of Young Children).  (May 8, 2013)