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New Childcare Facility Opens For New Mexico State Employees

Gov. Michell Lujan Grisham talks with some of the children of state employees being served at the newly opened child care facility in Santa Fe.
Kevin Meerschaert
Gov. Michell Lujan Grisham talks with some of the children of state employees being served at the newly opened child care facility in Santa Fe.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham cut the ribbon Monday on the first childcare center for New Mexico State employees.

Sitting in a room in the Montoya Building on St. Francis Drive young children and their mothers sat on the floor in front of the Governor and others as they spoke about the importance of providing quality daycare to state employees.

The Montoya facility houses employees from five different state agencies and is providing 44 slots for children ages two to five. A second facility is also opening this week in the Lamy Building with eight slots in an infant-toddler classroom. The 52 new slots between the two new facilities comprise a 2% increase in licensed child care availability in Santa Fe. 

Lujan Grisham says that shows there is still a long way to go to provide enough daycare in Santa Fe and across the state.  

“65-percent of just the women, and I don’t want to make this gender bias, we’ve got single heads of households from both genders. We have more working couples and we need them,” she said. “We have a workforce shortage in this state and across America, we need them. But if we don’t provide them the tools to do that, even if they want to return to the workforce we don’t give them the options to do that.”          

The General Services Department and Early Childhood Education and Care Department worked in tandem to build out and supply the space as a turnkey child care center.

“The model we’re using at these facilities is what we hope to see more of around the state. We want communities to see that they can forge these partnerships and create their own child care supply to meet the unique needs of their families and local economies – and the State of New Mexico will be an eager partner in these projects,” said ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “We are already funding over a dozen local early childhood coalitions throughout New Mexico to help build strong collaboration between state and local government, the private sector, and nonprofits. Working together, we can build a world class system of early childhood programs and services that will see every New Mexico family thrive.”   

Little Explorers Child Development Centers, which currently operates two highly rated centers in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, will serve as the provider for both state facilities. 

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.