ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s no secret New Mexico gets low grades when it comes to education. Now, about 100 workers who provide support to day cares and early childhood education centers are out of a job and big changes are coming.
New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department says it’s “stream-lining.”
The department has decided to consolidate a variety of services it currently provides to day care and early learning centers. But there’s major concern this process will have a big impact on New Mexico kids.
CYFD says it’s ending contracts with four agencies around the state that serve child care and early education centers.
The department sent a letter explaining the contract, which provides “training, technical assistance or consultation services,” will not be renewed after it expires on June 30.
“They’re basically trying to consolidate all the consulting services under one umbrella, and I understand that and I can see the potential benefit of that,” said Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, who also has some doubts.
The department says this shouldn’t be news to the contractors.
“This was always a four year grant that was only to get us started,” Monique Jacobson, Cabinet Secretary for CYFD, said.
CFYD says some services the contractors were providing overlapped and they’re trying to save money on administrative costs.
“Instead of just handing the money back out to groups that had them in the past, we put it out for a competitive bid this year,” Jacobson said.
The end of the four year federal grant that was being used to pay the four contractors means CYFD is losing $2.5 million.
While the department approves a new bid and gets the new contractor on board, there are concerns these important services will go away. This, as about 100 of those consultants lose their jobs.
“Really concerned about if there’s going to be a gap in services. How’s training going to be carried out? We can’t go in and expect that training will be done simply based online,” Sen. Morales said.
CYFD says it has a set up a hotline for providers who need help. The understaffed agency says it will even send out workers for site visits and get some help from a temporary contractor.
“So that we can make sure we’re still getting the right services to our child care providers around the state that really help them maintain quality for our kids,” Jacobson said.
Contractors are also concerned about losing the relationships they built with providers, families and the kids over the last four years, saying starting over affects kids the most.
CYFD says some of those consultants could be hired under the new contract, and adds that any of those contractors could have entered a bid.
The department says it will award the new contact by August, but it will take until January to get the new contractor fully on board, and to make sure day cares and early childhood centers are up to par.