Every family deserves access to quality child care, but many parents struggle to pay the high costs of this care while they are working or in school. Although the Child Care Assistance program is supposed to help low-income families cover these costs, illegal and confusing barriers in the application process have prevented thousands of eligible New Mexican children from enrolling.
Last year, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP) filed a case against the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) to address several violations of law in the state’s administration of the Child Care Assistance program. Attorneys at NMCLP settled this case in May 2019—winning a strong court order requiring CYFD to resolve all of the major issues identified in the complaint. Among other things, the court ordered CYFD to clearly explain the eligibility requirements and parent cost-sharing responsibilities for Child Care Assistance; revise its notices, forms, and caseworker training; and maintain eligibility at the current level until lawfully changed.
Once fully-implemented, these changes will make it easier for thousands of families to care for their children while working, pursuing job training, or attending school. (Photo: Plaintiff Annette Torres speaking at NMCLP's press conference announcing the lawsuit in September 2018.)