New Mexico Lt. Governor Howie Morales applauded passage in the Senate Monday of legislation to create a state early education department, sponsored by Senator Michael Padilla of Albuquerque.

Morales has a long history of support for an early learning department, including having sponsored the first measure while he was in the Senate in 2015.  He said it is critical to establish an agency solely focused on promoting and administering all early childhood services, and consolidating the funding streams, programs and personnel of numerous early childhood services currently dispersed across the Departments of Education; Children Youth and Families; and Health.

“Research shows that an intense focus on children from birth to five can significantly improve life-long outcomes. By creating an Early Childhood Services Department, we can reduce the fragmentation, the uneven quality and the inequity in our programs and services.  We spend close to $250 million annually on several agencies to serve between 50 – 70 thousand children and families.  This legislation will go a long way to help us get it right.  It is critical that we ensure every child in New Mexico is given the best opportunity at the earliest age for success in school, career and life,” said Morales.