Choosing child care is an important decision – it sets the stage for healthy growth and development. Find a regulated child care provider in New York State.
Types of child care:
There are five common types of child care programs in New York State. Each program is regulated by OCFS, except New York City-based day care centers, which are regulated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The types of programs are:
- Day Care Centers: Provide care for seven or more children at a facility other than a personal residence.
- Small Day Care Centers: Provide care for up to six children at a facility that is not a personal residence.
- Family Day Care Homes: Provide care for three to seven or eight children at a time in a residence; a caregiver is needed for every two children in care who are less than 2 years old. A family day care provider may only care for eight children if two of the children are enrolled in school.
- Group Family Day Care Homes: Provide care for seven to 12 children at a time in a residence with two caregivers; may add one to four school-age children. A caregiver is needed for every two children in care who are less than 2 years old. A provider must use an assistant when more than eight children are present, two of whom must be school-age.
- School-Age Child Care Programs: Provide care for more than six children from kindergarten through 12 years old. Care for children during non-school hours; also may provide care during school vacation periods and holidays.
(The programs above can serve children ages six weeks through 12 years and operate for more than three hours a day.)
Benefits of regulated child care:
As a parent, you are a key to quality child care. Some of the benefits to finding regulated child care are:
- You have the right to drop in at any time to observe the program or to see your child.
- Programs overseen by OCFS must be licensed or registered, with only a few exceptions.
- All caregivers in regulated child care and anyone over 18 years old living in a home-based program are required to undergo fingerprinting and background checks.
- Child care regulations govern the following:
- Adult-Child Ratios: The number of children each adult cares for is set in regulations to help to ensure that children are properly supervised and get the attention they need.
- Training and Experience: Regulated child care providers must have prior experience caring for children and must receive ongoing training in areas such as safety, nutrition, and child abuse prevention.
- Inspections: Every licensed child care program must undergo routine inspections and meet health and safety requirements.
Refer to this step-by-step process to find a child care provider in New York State:
- Go to the Child Care Look-Up on the OCFS website.
- Enter one or more criteria to search by.
- Click “Find Day Care”
- Click the “i” next to each program for additional information about the facility.
Ready? Have with you one or more of the below listed items to complete your search:
- Name of the facility
- Facility type you are interested in
- County the facility is located in
- Facility zip code
- License/registration ID
If you find a provider you are interested in, you will need to contact them to find out if:
- They have space for your child
- You can set up an appointment to visit
If you visit a facility and have a complaint, please call 1-800-732-5207 Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM. New York City residents can call 212-676-2444 Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM.
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. If the complaint is serious, but children are not in danger, an official will inspect within five days.
If you suspect child abuse or maltreatment, call the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3720. If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.