Hearing On Proposed CYFD Child Care Assistance Rules Postponed



A New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department public hearing on proposed changes to eligibility rules for child care assistance has been postponed. The hearing had been scheduled for Monday, July 8 in Santa Fe.

Implementation of the process to change the rules was court-mandated as the result of a class action lawsuit filed by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on behalf of Organizers in the Land of Enchantment last year after the previous administration changed the income eligibility level for child care assistance to 150 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) from 200 percent without going through the state-mandated process.

A May 3 court order, mandated that CYFD continue to provide the opportunity for eligible families to receive benefits with incomes of up to 200 percent of the FPL unless the Department lawfully promulgates regulations to increase or decrease eligibility.

The lawsuit also contended that copayments being demanded of participants in the program were being calculated using a formula that had not been included in the regulations, that the regulations were unconstitutional and vague, and that there was no due process in place for those denied benefits.

CYFD statistics indicate that the child care assistance program currently only serves a third of the eligible children in the state. Studies have shown that almost 20,000 children would have lost their benefits if the eligibility level was left at 160 percent.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a news release issued by CYFD Secretary Brian Blalock late Wednesday, statistically, each family with access to high-quality child care is more likely to come out of poverty over time. Blalock called child care aid one of the most important programs CYFD administers.

The closest office for state child care assistance is at 912 N. Railroad Avenue in Espanola. More information on the program may be found at https://cyfd.org/child-care-services/child-care-assistance.