Child Care Assistance

The Child Care Assistance Program subsidizes the cost of child care for low-income families (at or below 200% of the federal poverty level) that are working and/or in school and have a need for child care. Once determined eligible for Child Care Assistance, families can remain eligible up to 250% FPL. The subsidy amount varies depending upon the age of the child, the type of child care, the location of the program, and the rating of the child care program (as determined by the Look for the STARS Quality Rating System). Regional offices are located throughout the state and are staffed by Eligibility Interviewers who work with families to determine the amount of subsidy they qualify for. To review child care assistance regulations, click here.


UPDATE: Emergency Rule Amendments to 8.15.2 NMAC - Child Care Assistance Requirements for Child Care Assistance Programs for Clients and Child Care Providers. Effective March 16, 2020. For more information, see Child Care Services.

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Care Assistance


What is child care assistance?
Child care assistance helps you pay the cost of child care.

Who may apply for child care assistance?
Any parent, grandparent, or legal guardian who is working, going to school or in a job training program who needs help with child care expenses.

How is eligibility determined?
Eligibility is determined by gross monthly income and family size.

What ages qualify for child care assistance?
Any child between the ages of 6 weeks and 13 years old, or up to 18 years of age if special supervision is required.

Who may provide care for my child?
You choose the care that is best for you and your child such as a licensed center, licensed child care home, a registered family child care home, or a before-and-after school program.

How does my child care provider get paid?
The Child Care Services Bureau pays your provider directly each month based on the Department rate. You also may be required to pay a co-payment.

Is there a Copay?
Yes, you may be required to pay a portion of your child care bill, this is called copay, and it is based on your income and family size.

How do I calculate my Copay?
The following links will assist you in understanding how the copay is calculated:

  1. Calculation formula (PDF)
  2. Copay Chart (2019, 2020)
  3. How to read the copay chart (PDF)

How do I apply for child care assistance?
Call or visit a Child Care Services Bureau field office. You will need to bring the following information with you when you apply for services:

  • Current proof of earned and unearned income (including child support income) for applicant and biological parent, stepparent, and/or legal guardian living in the household, if applicable
  • School schedule, if applicable, for applicant and biological parent, stepparent, and/or legal guardian living in the household (if applicable)
  • Verification of birth for all applicant children
  • Proof of residency
  • Name, address and phone number of the child care provider selected (for new registered home providers, the provider’s social security card and picture ID are needed)

For more information on Child Care Assistance, contact your regional Child Care Assistance office, or call Early Childhood Services at (505) 827-7499 or 1-800-832-1321 or by email at