Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced Thursday that New Mexico will cover the costs of child care for most residents through June 2023. The benefit, which covers families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, makes New Mexico the first state to offer no-cost care to such a broad range of incomes, officials said.
Mario Cardona, the chief of policy and practice for Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable child care, called the announcement “the type of thing that we should be seeing across the country.”
Though other states, including Georgia, Virginia and Kansas, have expanded eligibility and made child care more affordable during the pandemic, none have gone as far as New Mexico, which has committed a historic and unusual amount of resources to the sector, Cardona said. Other states have largely relied on federal relief from the Cares Act and the American Rescue Plan to pay for child-care improvements, but the last of those dollars expires in 2024 and lawmakers may be hesitant, Cardona said, to roll out new programs using temporary money.