- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico child welfare officials say more families will be able to keep kids enrolled in childcare programs longer without having to reapply for assistance.

The state Children, Youth and Families Department says it’s now allowing families to maintain their eligibility for childcare assistance for 12 consecutive months. The previous certification period was only six months.

Secretary Monique Jacobson says the change will help reduce temporary lapses in eligibility due to work, school or other life circumstances and allow more families to access high-quality childcare.

Right now, about 18,000 children are in the program, but Jacobson says that represents only one-third of those who are eligible.

She says quality child care can help combat abuse and neglect and allow parents to pursue school or work while knowing their children are safe.

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