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Worried About the “Child Care Cliff”? Good Thing You Live in New Mexico!

Valerie Holloway
Updated on December 1, 2023

Worried About the “Child Care Cliff”? Good Thing You Live in New Mexico!

Federal COVID funds for child care are expiring, but New Mexico is filling the gap

You might have seen some news this fall about a child care funding “cliff.” The issue, which has received lots of national news coverage, is this: During the COVID pandemic, the federal government provided states with millions in funding to support child care providers. The idea was to make sure that child care centers and homes survived the pandemic, since they are so important for the entire economy and for working families everywhere. In New Mexico, federal COVID funding allowed state leaders to raise eligibility for child care assistance so most families are now eligible, and to waive co-pays for families receiving assistance. Together, these policies mean that most New Mexico families can get their child care free or nearly free!

The last of that federal funding is going away this fall. Although there is a push for Congress to add more funds, it’s unclear whether they will. However, New Mexicans can breathe easy. Thanks to voters who last fall approved a constitutional amendment to fund early childhood programs, plus the legislature’s decision to create an Early Childhood Trust Fund and continue other state investments, New Mexico can keep most of its child care policies in place. What does that mean for you? It means that child care is still free or nearly free for most New Mexico families!

As a New Mexican, it also means you live in a state that is doing more than any other to support child care access for its families. Sometimes it feels like we are at the bottom of all the good lists, but New Mexico is currently at the top of every list for child care access policies. People are looking to New Mexico as a model, and honestly, we can’t blame them for being a little jealous. Hatch chiles, beautiful mountains, year-round sunshine, AND free child care? Why do people live anywhere else?


Click here to see if you’re eligible for free or nearly free child care!

More families are eligible than ever before, so it’s worth checking even if you weren’t eligible in the past or if you aren’t usually eligible for support programs. Families with higher incomes, students in graduate school, or those working from home are some of the groups that are eligible now!