New Mexico poised to create new early childhood agency

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is poised to create a new cabinet-level agency focused on early child education and care.

State lawmakers over the weekend approved legislation that would establish the new agency, sending the measure to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her signature. She has advocated in favor of the legislation.

The agency would oversee prekindergarten programs, child-care assistance and home-visiting programs, bringing services currently provided by four different departments under one roof.

State and federal spending on early childhood programs has more than doubled to $313 million over the past several years, and supporters of the measure say the new agency would be better positioned to target those funds in hopes of changing the state’s child wellbeing outcomes.

Under the legislation, the new agency would be fully functional by July 2020.