How to Start a Daycare in New Mexico

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To start a daycare in New Mexico follow the below steps:

  • Begin by conducting thorough research on state regulations and licensing requirements for childcare facilities. Familiarize yourself with the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) guidelines, which outline standards for safety, staff qualifications, and facility requirements.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan detailing your daycare’s mission, target demographic, services offered, and financial projections.
  • Secure suitable premises that meet state-mandated health and safety standards, including adequate space for play areas and facilities.
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses from local authorities and CYFD.
  • Hire qualified staff with appropriate background checks and certifications in early childhood education.
  • Invest in liability insurance to protect your business and the children under your care.
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for enrollment, daily routines, health and safety protocols, and communication with parents.
  • Market your daycare through various channels such as local advertising, social media, a com listing, and community outreach to attract families seeking quality childcare services.
  • Continuously evaluate and improve your daycare operations to ensure compliance with regulations and provide the best possible care for children in New Mexico.

Do I need a childcare license in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department (ECECD) mandates that most childcare providers obtain licensure to ensure compliance with the state’s quality, health, and safety standards. However, the specific requirements vary based on the type of facility you operate.

In-home child care

Home childcare providers encompass programs that offer care to four or more non-residential children and are mandated to obtain state licensing. Conversely, those who operate from their homes and care for fewer than four non-residential children are exempt from state licensing requirements. Licensed in-home daycares fall into two categories:

  • Licensed Family Child Care Home: This category includes all private dwellings that provide care, services, and supervision to a minimum of five but no more than six children for less than 24 hours daily. The licensee must reside in the home and serve as the primary educator.
  • Group Child Care Home: This classification comprises all private dwellings or other buildings on residential premises that provide care, services, and supervision for a minimum of seven but no more than 12 children for less than 24 hours daily. Once again, the licensee must reside in the home and act as the primary educator.

If you intend to run your daycare from your residence, it’s crucial to understand that licensed home-based facilities qualify for payments from the state of New Mexico for the children under your care, as well as reimbursements for all nutritious food supplied.

Daycare in New Mexico

Childcare centers

In contrast to in-home daycares, childcare centers are establishments that offer care, education, and supervision to children for less than 24 hours a day in a non-residential setting. Every childcare center operating in New Mexico must obtain state licensing and adhere to approved curriculum guidelines for daily activities both indoors and outdoors.

These licenses are essential to guarantee that childcare centers maintain a superior level of supervision, nutrition, and education for the children in their care. Much like in-home daycares, childcare centers qualify for reimbursement for the provision of nutritious foods and payments for children receiving childcare assistance.

Out-of-school-time programs

Out-of-school-time (OST) programs offer after-school care for children aged five to 18, catering to both academic and recreational needs, with many encompassing both aspects. These services are regularly available to children before or after school, as well as during periods when school is not in session. Licensing requirements are contingent upon factors such as the location of the service and the number of children under the supervision of the program’s staff.

Childcare licensing requirements in New Mexico

Before commencing operations of a daycare center, it is imperative to fulfill all licensing prerequisites delineated by the New Mexico ECECD Child Care Services Bureau. The criteria for licensure may vary slightly depending on the type of childcare facility you intend to establish.

For instance, background checks will be conducted on you, as well as any teachers and staff members you hire, as part of the licensing process, irrespective of whether you plan to operate an in-home, center-based, or out-of-school time program. However, additional criteria such as ensuring facility accessibility for individuals with disabilities, which may include features like main entry ramps and inclusive building layouts, are obligatory for childcare centers but not for in-home programs. Moreover, licensed childcare centers and homes operating as business entities must furnish a designated name for the daycare center.

Every childcare program is mandated to adhere to the following administrative protocols:

  • The licensee is required to prominently display all licenses, certificates, and the most recent inspection reports in a visible area accessible to both staff and families.
  • All licensed facilities must formulate a mission, philosophy, and curriculum statement.
  • Each licensed facility must possess a comprehensive family handbook containing general program information as well as written policies and procedures.
  • Maintaining exhaustive records for each child, encompassing personal details, immunization records, and emergency information, is obligatory for all licensed facilities.
  • Complete records for every staff member, including substitutes and volunteers working more than six hours per week, must be kept by licensed facilities.
  • Each employee must be provided with a personnel handbook covering all employment-related matters by licensed facilities.
  • Ensuring that the premises, including furniture, fixtures, floors, drinking fountains, toys, and equipment, are kept clean, safe, and well-maintained is imperative.
  • The premises must be devoid of debris and potential hazards to ensure safety.
  • Toys and equipment must meet safety standards, be durable, easy to clean, non-toxic, and sanitized on a daily basis.

All of these requirements are detailed in the licensing guidelines provided by the Child Care Services Bureau.

In-home child care

Provider requirements

The following personnel requirements are mandatory for all in-home childcare providers:

  • Educators directly involved with children and included in staff-to-child ratios must be aged 18 or above.
  • All staff members must demonstrate competence in performing essential job functions to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all children under their care.
  • The licensee must be present in the childcare home for at least 75% of the home’s operational hours.
  • All educators must hold certifications in first aid and CPR, including a pediatric component.
  • Within three months of hire, all educators must complete the following training:
    • Prevention and control of infectious diseases
    • Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and safe sleeping practices
    • Administration of medication
    • Prevention and response to emergencies arising from food and other allergic reactions
    • Safety measures for building and physical premises
    • Prevention of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma
    • Awareness training in first aid and CPR with a pediatric focus
    • Planning for emergency preparedness and response
    • Handling and storage protocols for hazardous materials
    • Child transportation precautions (if applicable)
    • Identification and reporting procedures for child abuse and neglect
  • Educators are also required to complete a minimum of 12 documented hours of training annually, with at least six hours dedicated to child growth and development and three hours focused on health, safety, nutrition, and infection control.

Capacity and staffing requirements

Licensed home providers are obligated to comply with the following staffing regulations:

  • Children must be under constant supervision; an educator must be present with the children at all times, regardless of whether activities are conducted indoors or outdoors.
  • In homes licensed to care for six or fewer children, there must be a minimum of one educator present in the home at all times. For homes licensed to care for more than two children under the age of two, there must be at least two educators present at all times.
  • Homes licensed to care for seven to 12 children must have a minimum of two educators present in the home when more than six children are present or when more than two children under the age of two are present.

Childcare centers

Provider requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled by all childcare centers:

  • Educators engaged directly with children, factored into staff-to-child ratios, must be aged 18 or above.
  • All staff members must exhibit competency in performing essential job functions to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all children under their care.
  • Each childcare center can only have one director, who must be present at the center for a minimum of 50% of its daily operational hours.
  • At any given time, a minimum of two staff members must be present in the center, with at least one being an educator. If the center has fewer than seven children, the second staff member may engage in other activities such as cooking, cleaning, or administrative work.
  • All educators must hold certifications in first aid and CPR, including a pediatric component.
  • Unless exempt, childcare centers must have a director who is at least 21 years old and meets one of the following professional qualifications:
    • A bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education or a related field, such as early childhood special education, family studies, family and consumer sciences, elementary education with an early childhood endorsement, or any bachelor’s degree with a transcript containing two or more Early Childhood courses; and one year of experience in an early childhood growth and development setting.
    • Two years of experience in an early childhood growth and development setting, along with any of the following:
      • National Administrator Credential (NAC)
      • Provisional AA-level New Mexico Early Childhood Program Administration Certificate
      • New Mexico Child Development Certificate (CDC)
      • Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate
      • Child Care Professional (CCP) certificate
      • New Mexico Early Childhood Program Administration Certificate
      • Montessori Teacher Certification
      • New Mexico One-Year Vocational Certificate
      • Associate’s degree in child development or early childhood education
  • Within three months of hire, all educators must complete the following training:
    • Prevention and control of infectious diseases
    • Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and safe sleeping practices
    • Administration of medication
    • Prevention and response to emergencies arising from food and other allergic reactions
    • Safety measures for building and physical premises
    • Prevention of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma
    • Awareness training in first aid and CPR with a pediatric focus
    • Planning for emergency preparedness and response
    • Handling and storage protocols for hazardous materials
    • Child transportation precautions (if applicable)
    • Identification and reporting procedures for child abuse and neglect
    • Educators are also required to complete a minimum of 24 documented hours of training annually.

Daycare in New Mexico

Ratio requirements

Childcare centers are also required to comply with the following adult-to-child ratios:

Centers where children are grouped by age
Age group Staff-to-child ratio Maximum group size
Infants 1:6 or fraction of group thereof 12
Toddlers 1:6 or fraction of group thereof 12
Two years 1:10 or fraction of group thereof 20
Three years 1:12 or fraction of group thereof 24
Four years 1:12 or fraction of group thereof 24
Five years 1:15 or fraction of group thereof 30
Six years and older 1:15 or fraction of group thereof 30
Centers where age groups are combined
Age group Staff-to-child ratio Maximum group size
Six weeks through 24 months 1:6 or fraction of group thereof 12
Two through four years 1:12 or fraction of group thereof 24
Three through five years 1:14 or fraction of group thereof 28
Six years and older 1:15 or fraction of group thereof 30
18 to 24 months with children ages 24 through 35 months 1:6 or fraction of group thereof 12

Childcare license application in New Mexico

To become a licensed childcare provider in the state of New Mexico, applicants must complete the following steps.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Licensing Regulations

Before proceeding, carefully review all licensing regulations governing childcare facilities in your jurisdiction. Your program must receive approval from relevant state, city, or county authorities, including zoning, fire safety agencies, and either the New Mexico Environment Department or other applicable health authorities. Your home or center must adhere to all stipulations outlined in the licensing regulations.

Step 2: Conduct Background Checks

Ensure that all directors, owners, caregivers, and individuals aged 18 or above in your childcare home undergo background checks, fingerprinting, and employment history verifications. As the licensee, you are responsible for procuring background checks for all prospective and current staff members, as well as volunteers.

Step 3: Complete Licensing Application

Proceed to fill out the requisite application forms for either childcare and out-of-school time centers or family/group childcare homes. These forms should be accompanied by the appropriate fee and supporting documentation, which may include:

  • Zoning approval
  • Fire inspection certification
  • Building approval or certificate of occupancy (required for childcare centers and OST programs)
  • Approval from the environment department (if applicable)
  • CPR and first aid certification records
  • Activity schedule outlining planned programming
  • Director’s resume, evidence of degree attainment, and confirmation of background check clearance (mandatory for childcare centers and OST programs)

Step 4: Initial Assessment

Following the review of your application, a licensing surveyor will reach out to arrange an initial visit. This visit aims to ensure your facility aligns with state requirements or to inform you of any deficiencies in your application. Amendments to your application may incur additional fees.

Step 5: Obtain Licensing

Upon receiving your completed application and confirming compliance during the initial visit, the department will issue a license. Depending on the outcome, you may receive either an annual license, valid for one year, or a temporary license indicating partial compliance with regulations, necessitating adjustments before obtaining an annual license.

Daycare in New Mexico

How to stay compliant with a daycare license in New Mexico

Once your application garners approval and you receive the initial daycare license from the state, you may find it beneficial to craft a business plan for your program and devise marketing strategies to engage prospective families within your vicinity. Additionally, it is incumbent upon you to ensure ongoing compliance with New Mexico’s licensing requirements for your home or center. This entails granting the licensing department access to your facility and records during inspections, and diligently maintaining records and conducting staff training, reporting, and other essential tasks to uphold licensing standards.

Annual licenses are typically issued for a one-year duration, whereas temporary licenses may be granted for up to 120 days. Temporary licenses may be issued by licensing authorities if your facility is deemed capable of operating safely and maintaining the health of children in care, despite not meeting all state approval requirements. It is imperative to rectify any deficiencies within the 120-day period.

Licenses must be visibly displayed on the premises for families, staff members, and visitors to see, and all licenses should be renewed within 30 days of expiration. Failure to renew your license in a timely manner could prompt the state to temporarily suspend operations at your childcare center until all necessary documents and renewal applications are processed.

Conclusion

Running a childcare business in New Mexico can be a rewarding endeavor, offering an essential service to families in your community. The initial step in launching your business involves comprehending the state’s licensing criteria and obtaining your license. By conducting thorough research and dedicating yourself to compliance, your program stands poised for success.

To best market your daycare and utilize coming tools such as all-in-one waitlist management, payment processing, and single scan solutions for parent updates, sign up at https://www.Daycare.com/signup

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