March 16, 2020

State offers assistance to families and child care providers during emergency

Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez/U.S. Air Force

Senior Airman Alexis Lopez, dental assistant with the 319th Medical Group, demonstrates proper sanitary procedure by putting on a face mask at the medical treatment facility at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Sept. 7, 2017.

Two state agencies are providing child care assistance to parents who need help during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) made changes to the state’s early childhood policies in response to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health emergency declaration due to the spread of COVID-19, a type of coronavirus.

The state is encouraging families to stay home as much as possible during the global pandemic. But if families need assistance with childcare during the public health emergency, the state has made changes to offer assistance. The state is also offering various forms of assistance to child care providers to encourage them to stay open during this time of crisis.

  • CYFD will issue contracts to first responders and health providers who need child care assistance during the health emergency. The contracts will be for full-time care. For more information, call the state’s child care resource and referral line at 833-551-0518 or go to www.cyfd.org to download a child care assistance application.
  • Family, friends and neighbors providing child care assistance may be eligible to receive child care assistance funding from the state during the emergency health declaration. The temporary providers will be required to complete a background check as will all family members over the age 18 living in the provider’s home. The temporary providers will also need to complete a three-hour online health and safety training and an online CPR training. The state has a hotline for more information at833-551-0518.
  • Families can also contact a CYFD eligibility specialist for child care help and contracts can amend contracts. The state is also waiving parents’ copays during the public health emergency. The state says those who want more information about how to find child care should contact the resource and referral line at 800-691-9067 or go to www.newmexicokids.org.
  • Families who keep their children at home during the emergency will not lose CYFD benefits. If a childcare center closes and families need child care assistance, families may transfer their child care benefits to an alternative CYFD-approved provider and the state will continue to pay subsidies to both providers.
  • Both breakfast and lunch will be provided both school and non-school sites to all children under the age 18 who need it. Meals are provided ‘to-go” and must be consumed off-site, and the state recommends following guidelines for social distancing. 
  • This assistance is provided by the state through a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information is available at 833-551-0528 or email nutrition.program@state.nm.us.

The state is also making the following changes to help childcare centers:

  • CYFD-funded pre-K providers will be allowed to expand play time for children.
  • If a child care provider closes during the emergency, childcare payments will continue.
  • The state will pay licensed providers a premium by paying a differential of $250 per child for all children enrolled in child care assistance.
  • The state will also provide waivers to programs licensed as three Star or above that want to open additional sites during the emergency. Centers should contact the local licensing office for assistance with obtaining the waiver.
  • Child care centers located in public school buildings that may need assistance in working with local school districts to stay open can call 833-551-0518.
  • The Department of Public Safety is providing expedited background checks so child care centers can hire new, temporary employees during the emergency. New temporary staff will have to complete online health and safety training at www.newmexicokids.org and the state will accept an online CPR certification.
  • Starting Monday child care programs can complete a webform at www.newmexicokids.org detailing the food and cleaning supplies the programs need to serve children and families. The governor’s office, along with various partners, is coordinating food and supply deliveries across the state. Programs asking about supply needs can also email at child.care@state.nm.us to inform the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. Child care centers can also call 833-551-0518 if professional cleaning support is needed.
  • Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky will host daily calls with childcare providers starting Monday for daily technical assistance and support. Providers can also call the resource and referral line at 800-691-9067 or email child.care@state.nm.us. Frequent updates will be provided on www.newmexicokids.org.