What is FOCUS On Young Children’s Learning?

FOCUS On Young Children’s Learning, New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS), provides early childhood program personnel with the criteria, tools, and resources they need to improve the quality of their programs. These quality improvements focus on children’s growth, development, and learning – so that each child has an equitable opportunity to be successful when entering school.

FOCUS Criteria Essential Elements of Quality - Center-Based Care
FOCUS Criteria Essential Elements of Quality - Home-Based Care
FOCUS Elementos Esenciales de Calidad - Programas de Cuidados Infantiles Familiares
FOCUS Materials Library

FOCUS Eligibility and Application (for Child Care Programs)

FOCUS is voluntary. Licensed family child care homes, child care centers, and school-age programs may apply. Programs must meet 2-STAR criteria to participate. 

Apply HERE to become a FOCUS program.

Apply HERE for FOCUS verification.

For support or questions about the FOCUS application or application for verification, please contact ECECD FOCUS Manager Casey Lafferty at 505-629-9483 .

Notice of Change in FOCUS Verification Process:

FOCUS Verification is now open. Click here to read the announcement, and click here to read the general notice.

FOCUS Time Planning Grant Information 

For information about the updated FOCUS Time Planning Grant initiative, click here.

New Mexico PreK Initiative

New Mexico PreK is a voluntary program funded by the state of New Mexico. The PreK program began in 2005 to ensure that every child in New Mexico has the opportunity to attend a high quality early childhood education program before going to kindergarten.

The Purpose of New Mexico PreK

  • Increase access to voluntary high-quality pre-kindergarten programs
  • Provide developmentally appropriate activities for New Mexico children
  • Expand early childhood community capacity
  • Support linguistically and culturally appropriate curriculum
  • Focus on school readiness
Teachers carefully plan indoor and outdoor activities based on what children need to learn in seven areas:
  • Listening, language, reading, and writing
  • Science
  • Counting, shapes, sorting and measuring
  • Coordination, hygiene, health, and well-being
  • Art, music, and movement
  • Independence, problem-solving, thinking and perseverance
  • Appropriate behavior, social skills and being a part of a group
You won’t see children sitting quietly at desks in a PreK classroom. PreK children are active – busy – working.

To find out more about New Mexico PreK, please click here.

Steps to Choosing Quality Child Care

  1. Start Early:Finding the right child care option takes time so families must start their child care search as far in advance as possible.
  2. Consider Quality: Read Choosing Quality Care to determine what to consider while searching for child care. Consider programs currently participating in New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System-FOCUS. These programs are on their way to providing higher quality care for your child. 5-STAR is the highest recognized quality of care.
  3. Make Contact: Families can Search Here or call 1-800-691-9067 (8 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday) to request a customized child care search.
  4. Visit, Ask Questions & Make a Choice: Families should visit the child care options they are considering and ask questions pertaining to issues that are important to them. Make more than one visit to the program before making a final decision. Review inspection reports on licensed programs to help you make the best decision for your family. To find out if your in-home provider is licensed or registered, please use our In-Home Provider Child Care Lookup Tool. Please read our Family Letter for additional information and utilize this Selecting Child Care Checklist to help with decisions.

Do you qualify for child care assistance through ECECD Child Care Services?

ECECD Child Care Services provides assistance with the cost for child care. Child care payments are issued in the form of a check in the name of the child care provider, and are mailed directly to the child care provider. Your co-payment is based on the size of your family and your family's income.

Consider using the Am I Eligible Survey to see what programs you may qualify for. To apply for Child Care assistance, please use the online application or visit one of the ECECD Child Care Services offices. You may want to check out the requirements and documents you will need here.