Secretary of Department of Early Childhood Education and Care moves to Alamogordo

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New Mexico Department of Early Childhood Education and Care Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky stopped by Alamogordo on May 12 as part of her spring 2022 tour.

The tour was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19.

Groginsky’s stop at Alamogordo included a public listening session at the Alamogordo Public Schools Administration Building.

“It’s such a pleasure to be here,” Groginsky said. “Thank you for opening your school for us and for the whole community to come out.”

Groginsky spoke about Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s April 28 announcement on expanding eligibility for free child care. The expansion makes free child care available to eligible families who make up to 400% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $27,750 for a family of four.

This means that if a household of four earns approximately $111,000 per year, then that household is eligible for free child care in the state of New Mexico.

“Families are struggling and our child care providers are struggling and so we said we were going to have free child care in the state of New Mexico,” Groginsky said. “We now have a free university. We have free public education from K-12. And why don’t we when we know this is the most critical and fastest period of development.”

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care, or ECEDC, department secretary Elizabeth Groginsky, left, speaks during a listening session at the Alamogordo Public School on May 12, 2022 under the perspective of Helen Quintana, Human Resources Director of the ECEDC.

A press release from the governor’s office noted that “effective May 1, all families enrolled in the state’s child care assistance program will no longer be required to co-pay for child care, which will make childcare free”.

There was also a stipend for those pursuing their early childhood degrees at accredited colleges in New Mexico. These allowances can reach $2,000 per semester.

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Those present at the listening session included representatives of Children in Need of Services (CHiNS), Children’s World Child Development Center, Zia Therapy Center, teachers and administrators from Alamogordo Public Schools and other centers of child development in Alamogordo.

Many reviewers expressed positive views on how the Department of Early Childhood Education and Care has helped them since the department was established in 2020, including improving communication and ease of access. Commentators also noted that ECEDC was sensitive to the challenges child development centers faced before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Groginsky moved to New Mexico in 2019 after most recently serving as deputy superintendent of early learning for the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

The Early Childhood Education and Care Department, or ECEDC, was created in 2019 by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislative Assembly. The Department was officially launched on July 1, 2020.

“The Department’s goal is to create a more cohesive, equitable, and effective early childhood system in New Mexico,” the ECEDC website states. “That means coordinating a continuum of programs from prenatal through five and making sure families in every corner of the state can access the services they need.”

For more information on the Early Childhood Education Service, visit the ECED website at www.nmececd.org or call 800-32-1321.

Nicole Maxwell can be reached by email at nmaxwell@alamogordonews.com, by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter. If you have questions about your subscription, please contact customer service at AlamogordoDailyNews@Gannett.com or call 1-877-301-0013.

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