Why use child care?

Using a licensed child care provider means that your child's caregiver meets quality, health, and safety standards.

What does it mean to be a licensed program? 

Child care centers, licensed homes, and some after school programs follow New Mexico’s child care licensing regulations, which you can read more about at NewMexicoKids.org. Licensed programs must have their license posted, which will indicate their STAR level. You can find child care reviews here.

What is a STAR level?

Look for the STARS is a quality rating and improvement system that contains five levels. The higher the STAR level, the higher the level of quality. One star indicates that the program meets basic licensing requirements, and five stars indicate that the program has received national accreditation​. Each STAR level requires a provider to continue to meet higher quality standards in the following areas:

  • Staff training and education
  • Environment and how it affects the way children behave, develop, and learn
  • Daily learning activities that reflect each child’s individual interests, growth, and development
  • Family involvement to help make learning meaningful to children
  • Assessment that allows staff to observe and document 

Steps in Choosing Child Care

  • Call the PullTogether hotline (1-800-691-9067) to get information on child care options in your area, or search online for child care here.
  • Once you have a list of child care options, contact each center director/caregiver and ask questions about:
    • Basic information like hours, caregiver to child ratios, and costs
    • Policies for discipline, meals, naps, medications, illness, late pick-up, etc.
    • What experience and training do the caregivers have?
    • What would a typical day for my child look like?
  • Bring your child to visit your top choices. Trust your intuition.
  • Once you have made your decision, talk to your child about the transition. If you feel good about it, your child will pick up on your confidence.
  • Stay involved in your child’s care. 

Accidents and Incidents in Child Care Settings

  • Despite the best childproofing and safety efforts, childhood accidents sometimes happen. Child care providers are required to notify parents or guardians in writing of any incident, including notifiable illnesses that have threatened the health or safety of children in their care. They also must report to the Licensing Authority any fatality, or serious injury that require medical attention. An aggregate data report about reported serious injuries, substantiated child abuse and deaths in child care is available for your view.