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NM receives federal grant for preschool development

For the record: This story reflects the correct amount of the grant, $5.4 million.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded New Mexico a $5.4 million grant to help build a high-quality early learning system for families and young children.

Brian Blalock, the secratary-designate for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, speaks to reporters Monday. (Russell Contreras/Associated Press)

The one-year award includes the option of applying for more money for additional years, state officials said Tuesday in a news release.

The Children, Youth and Families Department applied with the Department of Health and Public Education Department for the money and has been named the lead agency for the grant, which is formally known as the Preschool Development Grant, Birth to Five.

bright spot“This award is a great jump-start for our effort in moving our early childhood system forward,” CYFD Secretary-designate Brian Blalock said in a statement. “Education is a cornerstone, and I’m excited about this opportunity to put some funding behind analysis and planning.”

“Quality early learning services for children birth to 5 play an essential role in making sure that kids enter kindergarten with the best possible foundation,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

State officials said the money can be used for a birth-to-5 needs assessment and data-gathering process through public forums; development of a statewide birth-to-5 strategic plan; an early learning media campaign to maximize parents’ understanding of services available; professional development for child care providers, early interventionists and others; and an online family engagement tool that will also allow early childhood programs to self-evaluate.

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