Frequently Asked Questions

Child Care

Where do I go to find help with my child care needs?

If you are looking for child care, the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCRR) in your county is a great place to start. They will be able to give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs. Remember, though, this list is just a starting point - you will need to contact the provider to see if they have space for your child and you will want to visit the child care provider to make sure for yourself that this is the right match for you. The Office of Children and Family Services has a helpful brochure and a video on selecting quality child care.

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services provides assistance in:

  • identifying an appropriate day care center for your child
  • obtaining financial assistance for day care;
  • starting a day care program, or becoming a Child Care Provider; and
  • providing training and support to Child Care Providers

To obtain more information about these subjects, please visit the Child Care section of this website.

Can I get help paying for child care?

In general, families are eligible for financial assistance if they meet the state's low income guidelines and need child care to work, look for work, or attend employment training. You are guaranteed child care if you are on public assistance and need child care in order to meet any work participation requirements. You are also guaranteed assistance in paying for child care for one year after leaving public assistance if you left public assistance for a job and need child care to go to work. Your county Department of Social Services (in New York City, the Human Resources Administration and Administration for Child Development) determines family eligibility based on income, reasons for needing day care, and your child's age and individual needs.

For more information and the phone number for your local department of social services, visit the Child Care section of this website.

How do I become a child care provider?

The Office of Children and Family Services also provides support for people and organizations that are interested in starting day care programs in their communities. As a general rule, any day care program planning to serve three or more children for more than three hours a day on a regular basis must obtain a license or registration certificate. To obtain this certificate, the applicant must show that the day care program meets requirements that the state has established to help ensure the health and safety of children in care. The Office maintains a network of Regional Offices that can provide you with application materials, information about the process of starting a program, and help with understanding the legal requirements.

In addition, you may be eligible for funding to assist you in starting or expanding your child care program.

  • If you are interested in obtaining funding to start or expand a day care center or school age child care program; you can apply to the Office of Children and Family Services for a grant application. You can contact us to request a grant application.
  • If you are interested in obtaining financial assistance to become a family day care provider, contact your local CCRR to request start-up funds.

If you would like information on either applying to be a child day care provider or seeking funding to assist in start up, please visit the child care section of this website.

How do I meet training requirements as a child care provider?

Like every professional, the child care provider must continue to strengthen their skills. In fact, ongoing training and professional development is a requirement for maintaining a license or registration to provide child care in New York State. Consult your regulations or your licensor for detailed training requirements.

How and where you meet your child care training requirements is up to you. However, OCFS supports a variety of mechanisms to assist you in meeting your training requirements, these range from scholarship funds to videoteleconferences. The Child Care section of this website features more details on these training supports.

What should I do if I have a concern about the health or safety standards of a day care setting?

Call 1-800-732-5207 (during working hours). In New York City, you can also contact the city Department of Health by calling 311 (during working hours) or 212-NewYork. An official will inspect the facility within 24 hours if there's suspected imminent danger to children, or within 15 days for other regulatory complaints.

Don't see your question here? Try using the keyword search at the top of the page, or check our phone listing.

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