New Mexico is looking to help parents struggling to find child care with its new online search platform designed to help families find child care that fits their specific needs.
A joint statement from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) explained that the Child Care Finder allows parents and caregivers to search for one of the over 1,000 child care programs statewide, filtering by proximity, age of the child, quality rating, tuition, language, program type, and more.
“Making sure that every New Mexico family and child has access to affordable quality child care is a cornerstone of the work of this administration, and we are committed to continuing to close remaining barriers to access,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “It can be stressful for families to find care for young children, and we want to do everything we can to set up families and kids for success.”
The new search platform takes the latest data directly from the ECECD child care provider database and populates the basic information into family-friendly profiles for each child care program. Additionally, individual child care providers can claim their profiles within the system to customize the content, add more detail, post photos, and interact with families who have questions or want to schedule a tour.
On the platform, families can search for programs using parameters such as ZIP code/map location, age range, availability, days of the week, drop-off/pick-up time, program type, weekly/monthly tuition, participation in the ECECD Child Care Assistance Program, quality rating, and language supports.
“Our goal was to make the search process easy and intuitive and put the information families need most right at their fingertips,” said ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “We want to take the stress out of the search and help match families with a child care program that meets their needs.”
ECECD said that the Child Care Finder is a continuation of its partnership with Wonderschool, a platform that provides a suite of business and marketing tools to child care providers. Through the state’s Elevate NM Child Care Initiative, ECECD is providing more than 700 Wonderschool licenses free of charge to child care providers statewide. Participating providers gain access to a custom website, communication tools, a billing and accounting system, business coaching, and administrative tools that help automate tasks. ECECD said that these resources help child care providers improve the financial stability and overall efficiency of their programs, “leading to better long-term access to child care for New Mexico families in underserved areas.” The press release noted that child care programs participating in Elevate NM Child Care have active profiles within the statewide Child Care Finder tool at launch.
“This is such a good resource and communication tool, both for families and child care providers,” said JoEllen Bellington, director of Fuzzy Slipper Family Child Care in Albuquerque, N.M.