Coronavirus Information (COVID-19)

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You are on this page: Coronavirus Information (COVID-19)

A new coronavirus - 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus – that was first detected in China is now spreading worldwide. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19 and can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are thousands of confirmed cases in a growing number of countries internationally and the virus is now spreading in the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more about this virus.

For the latest information, please check the New York State Department of Health web site.

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News and Updates

March 25, 2020 — Surveys on Child Care Program Openings and Parent Need

Survey on Child Care Program Openings

OCFS is collecting information from licensed and registered child care providers to find out whether they have openings in their child care program, and if they have the capacity and desire to serve more children than their established capacity. Providers who have slots available in their program are asked to complete this survey every Wednesday. OCFS will share this information with stakeholders including the local child care resource and referral agencies to help connect parents in need of child care with available slots in their community.

Parent Need for Care Survey

If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need.

National Diaper Bank for Parents to Access Diapers During this Challenging Time

If you or someone you know needs diapers, there may be assistance in your community.

To find out if an agency in your area provides diaper assistance to families in need, please call 2-1-1 on your phone or search online at Specialist are available 24/7 to help identify local resources that may be able to help provide diapers and other basic necessities.

For more information visit the National Diaper Bank.

March 20, 2020 — Waiver request letter to Detention Directors

As the state addresses the COVID-19 crisis, we must work together to provide a safe and secure continuity of service for youth in custody. Current regulatory requirements prohibit cohousing for JD and JO male youth with AO male youth; however, OCFS has determined that during this declared disaster emergency, this prohibition may lead to beds that could safely be utilized to house detained youth being left empty.

Based on the possibility that there will be a need to quarantine or isolate youth who have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19 and the staffing shortages that are often attendant to pandemic situations, the need for available secure and specialized secure detention beds may increase during this crisis. Thus, collocated secure detention and specialized secure detention facilities may wish to apply for a waiver on the prohibition of cohousing AO male youth with JD and JO male youth.

Download the March 20 waiver request letter.

March 20, 2020 — COVID-19 Fiscal Tracking Memorandum

We recognize that there are likely to be new, unanticipated costs associated with your county’s/agency’s operations in caring for the runaway and homeless youth in our communities. Both the Federal Government and the Governor have declared states of emergency. We believe that additional federal resources may become available and we want to be fully prepared to provide costs associated with the pandemic. If you haven’t begun to do so already, I strongly urge you to maintain an accurate and separate accounting of all expenses related to this COVID-19 emergency.

We will share additional guidance and instruction as it becomes available.

Download the COVID-19 Fiscal Tracking memorandum.

March 19, 2020 — Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts

"Pursuant to a delegation of authority to me by the Chief Judge of the State of New York in response to the 2020 coronavirus public health emergency in this State, I hereby direct that, effective immediately and until further notice, any temporary orders of protection issued in any criminal or civil matter in any court of the Unified Court System that is due to expire on or after the date of this order shall be extended under the same terms and conditions until the date the matter is re-calendared, unless the order is sooner terminated or modified by a judge or justice of the court that issued the order."

Download the March 19 Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts.

March 17, 2020 — Notice to Child Care Providers Regarding Directives

Attention: Child Care Providers

There is no State directive to close child care programs at this time. OCFS is working on creative ways to help expand child care capacity in a safe way across the state. As a reminder, licensed programs are responsible for reporting to OCFS if they are voluntarily closing.

In certain circumstances, local authorities have the authority to direct programs to close under quarantine or other emergency orders.

Your license capacity remains in effect unless you’ve been approved for a waiver by OCFS. We encourage you to consider the ability to care for children who are not attending school but whose parents must continue to work. There may be ways for you to serve a greater number of children while continuing to prioritize their health and safety and that of your employees. To the extent practicable, consider ways to manage your program to limit group sizes and interactions between groups in line with the Centers for Disease Control guidance.

March 17, 2020 — Temporary Visitor Restrictions Within Residential Treatment Centers and Congregate Care Settings

As part of New York States’ continued effort to curtail the transmission of the Novel Coronavirus of 2019 Disease (COVID-19) and maintain the health, safety, and well-being of the children and families served in residential treatment centers and congregate care settings (programs), the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) encourages the implementation of policies which limit visitor access. Programs must take immediate steps to temporarily restrict visitors to only:

  • specified family members,
  • medical personnel, and
  • behavioral health specialists.

Download the complete memorandum as Word memorandum of March 17, 2020 or PDF memorandum of March 17, 2020.

March 16, 2020 — Child Care Subsidy Information in Regard to COVID-19

Effective immediately, local social services districts can expand the child care services they provide to families affected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Districts may select from the following options:

  • extend the eligibility period,
  • expand the definition of a child needing protective services,
  • expand the number of allowable absences,
  • expand the number of program closures,
  • extend eligibility up to 85% of the state median income level,
  • waive family shares, and
  • make other requests related to eligibility and/or administration of the child care subsidy program.

A letter to Commissioners and the waiver request form are provided below.

Download the waiver request letter as Word waiver request letter from March 16, 2020 and PDF waiver request letter from March 16, 2020.

Download the waiver request form as Word wainver request form from March 16, 2020 and PDF waiver request form from March 16, 2020.


Live Webinar: Child Care Providers and Federal Assistance: Small Business Administration Loans and Loan Forgiveness
April 8, 2020 at 7 p.m.

OCFS, in conjunction with the Civil Service Employees Association, will be hosting a live webinar on “Child Care Providers and Federal Assistance: Small Business Administration Loans and Loan Forgiveness” on
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 7 p.m..

Featuring Tom Copeland, a leading expert on the business of child care.

Register for this webinar.

Letters to Child Care Providers

March 21, 2020 — Dear Provider Letter - Essential Business Functions
March 17, 2020 — Dear Provider Letter - Corona Virus Update
March 11, 2020 — Corona Virus Update for Child Care Providers
March 5, 2020 — Corona Virus Update for Child Care Providers
February 6, 2020 — Letter to Child Care Providers

Important Information About Corona Virus for Child Care Providers

A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.

Read the full Corona Virus letter to providers:

Other Resources

COVID Information

Help for Parents

How You Can Help