• April 22nd, 2024
  • Monday, 09:05:29 AM

Report Released on Early Childhood Day at the Roundhouse


Photo: Adobe Stock A recent report by New Mexico Voices for Children emphasizes the critical need for early childhood care and education.

 

 

New Mexico is at a critical juncture between the recent and significant investments made in early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs and the political will to make those programs universal and permanent. That is one of the conclusions in a new report, Early Childhood Care and Education in New Mexico: Using New Tools and Rising to the Challenge.

 

The New Mexico Voices for Children report was released on Feb. 27 in advance of Early Childhood Day at the Roundhouse, Feb. 28, to further highlight the importance of this issue.

 

In addition to giving an overview of recent investments in ECCE – from the creation of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department to the overwhelming voter support for a constitutional amendment to guarantee more ECCE funding from a permanent source – the report also: looks at the high level of unmet need for ECCE services; lays out the most dire barriers to child well-being in New Mexico; explains how ECCE programs improve child outcomes; and makes the case that education should be a cradle-to-career continuum.

 

“New Mexico is now a leader in the nation on investments in early childhood and we expect to see improvements in the data on child well-being as a result,” said Amber Wallin, executive director of the child advocacy agency. “The huge voter mandate, along with our historic budget surplus, give policymakers the direction and the means to continue to build a world-class cradle-to-career educational system starting with the youngest children.”

 

The report also includes policy recommendations for improving child well-being that go beyond ECCE services to include family economic security and public health.

 

“Too many of New Mexico’s children – particularly our kids of color who make up more than 75% of our child population – face barriers to success,” said Jacob Vigil, a Senior Research and Policy Analyst at NM Voices and the report author. “The data, from robust and long-term studies, are clear on the life-long benefits of high-quality early childhood programs. In addition, many early childhood services – such as home visiting and child care assistance – confer benefits on the entire family. Strengthening our families will improve our communities, economy, and quality of life for every New Mexican.”

 

The report is available here.