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Child Care Services

How to find child care services in your area

Looking for child care can be challenging, but you can find support with our Early Care and Education Institute (EC&EI). As a member of the New York City Child Care Resource and Referral Consortium (NYC CCR&R), we guide families through the process of finding a child care program that meets your family’s needs. Call us at (212) 206-1090.

What to look for when you enroll your child in child care
Every child and family has different needs regarding the type of care that works for them. We encourage you to schedule visits with prospective child care programs during the day when you can observe them in action and see if they meet your needs.
Consider the following before enrolling:

1.The number of staff and children in a program;
2.Daily routines and activities;
3.Consider the cost, location and hours of operation;
4.Experiences of other parents and their children.

Our referral specialist can

  • Explains the different types of child care options you have based on your child’s age and what you want from the child care program you choose
  • Searches for child care programs in locations convenient for you within New York City’s five boroughs
  • Sends you a list of customized information on child care program options for your family based on your phone consultation
Contact CHCF Specialist

What to do if your child needs additional support.

If your child needs additional support, make sure you discuss your concerns and the support needed with the child care program staff. Help the staff members understand what that support means to you and your child. Visit their program and understand if you believe that support can be offered based on the space, number of staff members, and number of children in the program and their ages.

Parents can also receive support and information from the New York State Early Intervention Program, which provides therapeutic and support services to children under 3 years of age who have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State. You can find the “Early Intervention Program: A Parent’s Guide” linked here.

I am looking for child care. What are my options?

The better you understand you and your child’s needs, and what type of care is both available and affordable, the more equipped and confident you will become in your decision-making process. Listed below is a description of your child care options.

Family Child Care
  • Care in someone’s home
  • Can be care for up to six children ages 6 weeks to 12 years
  • No more than 2 children under age 2 per provider
  • Registered with the NYS Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) through the NYC Department Of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
Center Based Care
  • Varied schedules – many operate 10 hour days and year round, full day, year round
  • Can serve children between 8 weeks and 5 years
  • Most serve pre-schoolers over age 2, fully toilet trained
  • Children-to-staff ratio varies depending on the age of the child
  • Licensed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
School Age Program
  • Serves children enrolled in school usually ages 5-12 with some four year olds
  • Offers care before and after school generally until 6:00 p.m.
  • Generally open during school breaks, holidays and summer
  • Programs must be registered by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services through the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Head Start
  • Pre-school, primarily for 3- and 4-years olds
  • Services provided in Head Start programs or as part of other early childhood programs.
  • Eligible families must meet specific federal income requirements
  • Federally funded and services include other family supports
Non Traditional Hour Care
  • Generally referred to as care offered before 7 am and after 7 pm
  • May also include Saturdays and/or Sundays
  • Few options in centers, some in regulated family child care and group family child care
  • More likely to be relative or neighbor
Group Family Child Care
  • Care in someone’s home
  • Care for up to 12 children with the help of an assistant
  • No more than 4 children under age 2
  • Can accept children from 6 weeks to 12 years
  • Licensed by the NYS Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) through the NYC DOHMH
Infant Toddler Child Care Program
  • Can be stand alone or located in same building as a pre-school center
  • Serves children from 8 weeks to age 3
  • Must obtain a special license to serve this age group
  • Licensed by the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Universal Pre K (UPK)*
  • Programs offered primarily as part day(2.5 hours) while some offer full school day during the school year
  • Children who are 4 or turn four by end of December of the school year are eligible
  • Services provided in schools and early childhood centers and some group family child care.
  • Program is free for the UPK hours
Informal Child Care (license-exempt)
  • Individual can be a relative of the child, i.e. grandmother, aunt, cousin etc.
  • Individuals can care for fewer than 3 non-related children
  • Not required to be registered or licensed by the State as family child care providers
  • Individuals may need to meet requirements in order to serve children who receive public funding
  • Can be in a child’s or caregiver’s home

*Programs in early childhood centers often offer more extended hours to participating families.

Frequently Asked Questions.

How much does child care cost?’

The prices of child care can vary depending on the type of care you choose and the age of your child. Please refer to the Market Rate Sheet in our Resources for Families page to determine the estimated price for the care you are looking for.

How can I pay for child care?

If you are looking for assistance with your child care payment, you can apply for either a child care voucher from HRA or apply for a child care subsidy from the EarlyLearn program with ACS. To apply for the voucher a parent has to go to their local HRA office, their services are all walk-in. A family must be receiving public assistance to be eligible to apply for a voucher. You can find a list of the HRA locations here.

To apply for the EarlyLearn program a parent has to contact an EarlyLearn network that works with their area, a list of networks can be found on the ACS website in the Early Care and Education section. You can find the list of EarlyLearn Networks here.

How do I know if the child care program is high quality?

There are different indicators that you can look for when you are trying to understand if a child care program is providing high quality services. Keeping these in mind during your search will help you determine if a setting is in the best interest of your child.

  1. Group Size
  2. Ratio
  3. Family Involvement
  4. Caregiver Education & Staff Turnover
  5. Health & Safety
  6. Accreditation for more information on what each quality indicator means please refer to our Resources for Families page.

What should I expect when I visit a program?

When you visit a child care program prepare to be an observer for the time that you are there, the children and staff members will go on with their daily routines during your visit.
It is helpful for parents to keep the following in mind while making their observations:

  1. Caregiver: number of years of experience, education and/or training in child care, and how the caregiver interacts with the children
  2. Daily Schedule: the types of activities and experiences offered to the children and how they will help the children develop skills for future readiness
  3. Child care program safety: understand the steps the caregiver takes in order to prevent accidents and what plans they have in place in case of an emergencyKeeping these things in mind will help you understand the philosophy of the program and will help guide the questions you ask the child care provider.

How can I find dual language services in English and Spanish?

If you are interested in a dual language program the first step would be to get a list of the child care programs in your area. Contacting each program will be the next step, call and ask the program the languages they use when they teach the children. Visit the child care program to observe how the two languages are used.

What is early intervention?

The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) is administered by the New York State Department of Health. The Early Intervention Program provides services for children under 3 years of age who have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State. The Early Intervention Program offers a variety of therapeutic and support services to eligible infants and toddlers. You can find more information on the Early Intervention Program here.


The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc. does not license, recommend or endorse any one provider over another. We encourage parents to exercise their right to evaluate and select the child care program that best meets the needs of their family.


If you need more information on how to get help with child care payments call our referral specialist at (212) 206-1090.

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