In 2018, the New Mexico Early Childhood Funders’ Group commissioned “A Business Plan for Early Childhood.” The Business Plan provides a vision for responsibly expanding early childhood and a systems-based approach to achieving it. In other words, this is a framework for efficient and effective ways to reach more children with evidence-based early childhood programs, maximize the impact of any investment, and ultimately, transform New Mexico from the foundation up.
Following the plan’s release, the Funders Group engaged the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership to conduct a community and stakeholder engagement process. The goal of this phase of the project was to gather authentic community input and information from across the state with an emphasis on tribal communities. Over the course of five months, the Partnership heard from more than 300 people and 160 organizations in 39 communities across New Mexico. The results of those conversations, the “Community Outreach Report,” was compiled in partnership with the Native American Budget and Policy Institute, and can be found at:
New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership
From those conversations about the early childhood business plan, three themes formed the basis of an early childhood policy agenda:
- Create an Early Childhood Department to better coordinate the array of early childhood programs.
- Strengthen the early childhood workforce by improving access to higher education and increasing compensation.
- Continue to responsibly expand access to high quality early childhood programs, including home visiting, early intervention, child care, and PreK.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, a number of organizations are actively advocating on behalf of this early childhood policy agenda:
- The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce (http://www.abqchamber.com)
- The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce (http://www.santafechamber.com)
- Pegasus Legal Services, in partnership with the Santa Fe GRADS program for teen parents (http://pegasuslaw.org)
- The New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (http://www.nmaci.org)
- The Council for a Strong America (https://www.strongnation.org)
The Thornburg Foundation expects through these cumulative efforts—from the formation of a solid plan to community feedback to effective advocacy—families will be strengthened and more children in New Mexico will be prepared to succeed in school and life.