Child Care Services Home Page

Skip to Content

Accessible Navigation and Information

Use the following links to quickly navigate around the page. The number for each is also the shortcut key. You can jump to:

You are on this page: Child Care Services Home Page

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services provides a range of resources to help parents with their child care needs, people who want to start or are currently running child care programs, and anyone with a concern about the health or safety of a child in a day care program.

Updates and Important Announcements

Dear Provider Letter - Provider and Parent Resources

Dear Provider:

OCFS is sharing this information to highlight the importance of family engagement, provide some helpful ideas on how to maintain connections with the children and families you serve, and help you identify ways to support families and help connect them to the resources available in your local community.

Use of Cloth Masks in Public

There is new guidance on the use of cloth masks in public in Guidance Documents. Please review.

NYS OCFS DCCS Provider Letter - Essential Business Functions

Dear Provider:

Not everyone is aware that Governor Cuomo has declared child care to be an essential service during the COVID-19 emergency. In the event that you are questioned about your ability to operate during the emergency, OCFS has prepared the attached letter that further clarifies child care is an essential service in New York State. We are providing this letter to all child care programs proactively, so you have a resource available to share should the need arise.

New CDC Supplemental Guidance on Child Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a Supplemental Guide for Child Care. Written in collaboration with the Offices of Child Care and Head Start for a variety of child care settings, this resource provides guidance specific to child care on issues such as:

  • Social distancing;
  • Child pick up and drop off procedures;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of toys and bedding;
  • Safely caring for infants and toddlers; and
  • Food preparation and meal service

In addition, the Guidance document provides numerous links to resources that provide even greater detail, including information regarding children’s risks concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Resource Materials for Drop-in Care

For the duration of the emergency, entities such as hospitals and universities have created drop-in care programs. Drop-in care programs are outside of OCFS licensure. Drop-in care is not required to be registered with OCFS, but OCFS has developed these recommendations to promote best practices. There is a packet of materials and printable forms customizable for setting.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

As you are aware, a coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not previously been detected in humans. It can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and cases being diagnosed in other countries including the United States. And, the virus has been confirmed in New York State.

Child Care Subsidy Information

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 wainver 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.

Download the March 18, 2020 FAQ in Word.

Dear Provider Letters

Dear Provider Letters Regarding COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQ for Local Districts

OCFS has been receiving questions from local social services districts regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of the child care subsidy program. This FAQ for Local Districts provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 FAQ for Day Care Providers

As part of our commitment to sharing information with child care programs regarding the challenges they are experiencing related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), OCFS has compiled answers to questions we have been receiving from the child care community.

Guidance Documents

Updated Interim Testing Guidance: Protocol for COVID-19 testing with prioritization by job title/role

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to monitor the situation and work to expand COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic testing for New Yorkers. The attached document broadens the circumstances in which essential workers may request a COVID test by contacting the state’s COVID 19 testing hotline.

Use of Cloth Masks in Public

Dear Provider:

On April 12, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16. This order directs the use of face coverings by employees interacting with customers or members of the public. Specifically, for all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct interaction with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. Child care programs are an essential business and therefore must comply with this directive.

Per the attached guidance, direct interaction “shall include any employee who is routinely within close contact (i.e. six feet or less) with members of the public, including but not limited to customers or clients”.

Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.

Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.17 and 202.18 Requiring Face Coverings in Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Please continue to check OCFS website for updates/additional information on COVID response resources.

Emergency Child Care Employment Guidance

As a result of Executive Orders recently issued by Governor Cuomo as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, OCFS has been granted the authority to waive certain requirements so that child care programs can onboard employees more quickly.

As a result of Executive Orders recently issued by Governor Cuomo as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, OCFS has been granted the authority to waive certain requirements so that child care programs can onboard employees more quickly.

Child Care Employment Guidance - April 8

Download related forms:

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and pursuant to Executive Order 202.5, issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on March 18, 2020, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has been granted the authority to waive certain background checks. This waiver allows legally exempt informal child care providers to enroll without completing the comprehensive background check process, subject to the certain conditions.

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance: May 18 CC Guidance PDF

20-OCFS-INF-09 - COVID-19 Guidance to Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for Congregate Settings for COVID-19

The Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection directions are available as Word document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance and PDF document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance.

Guidance Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to study and respond to the spread and effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Memo: Use of N95 Masks

Guidance: Use of N95 and Cloth Masks

20-OCFS-INF-08 - COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Download 20-OCFS-INF-08.

Download related forms:

Webinars

New Webinar Video Available

Child Care Providers and Federal Assistance: Small Business Administration Loans and Loan Forgiveness

Tom Copeland’s Small Business Administration Opportunities and Economic Relief for Child Care Providers webinar recorded on April 9, 2020 is available for viewing.

Go to the video of the webinar.

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 2-1-1.org. 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 wisit the National Diaper Bank.

Call for Child Care Workers

OCFS is seeking assistance from licensed and registered child care programs and their employees. Child care workers who are temporarily out of work due to COVID-19 related program closures may be able to help fill vital roles at other child care programs.

If you are interested in helping support your community by helping to keep local child care programs operating-especially to care for children of health care and other critical workers, please complete this Survey for Current Child Care Workers. Your responses will be shared with local child care programs that are in need of staff.

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.

Comprehensive Background Clearance Information

New Emergency Regulations

OCFS issued new emergency regulations that make changes to the rules for comprehensive background checks to ease the burden on programs and parents. These new regulations went into effect on February 7, 2020. You can find them here: ocfs.ny.gov/main/legal/Regulatory/er/.

Policy Directives

Frequently Asked Questions - Update February 11, 2020

QUALITYstarsNY

Quality Stars

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State's quality rating and improvement system. It is a voluntary program to rate, improve and communicate levels of quality in all regulated early care and learning programs. Read more about the important QUALITYstarsNY initiative.