Apply through MyCity!

The new MyCity website helps New Yorkers easily search, apply for, and track City services and benefits. Users can also securely save their information and documents to their account for future applications. MyCity can be translated into 10 languages.

The NYC child care financial assistance screening tool and application is now available through MyCity. 

Learn more and apply on the MyCity website.

Need something else?

New York City offers many free or low-cost child care and educational programs for families that qualify. These programs provide care and education for children from birth to thirteen years old (or up to 19 years old for children with disabilities), all year round. 

Eligibility is based on your family's income and reason for care. If you qualify and there is a seat available, your child can begin any time.

You should first compare assistance options and choose what’s best for you. There are three types of care: 

  • Child care vouchers through Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
  • Contracted care through Department of Education (DOE)
  • Head Start and Early Head Start 
 CHILD CARE VOUCHERSCONTRACTED CAREHEAD START PROGRAMS
Age Range
  • 6 weeks up to 13 years, or
  • 19 years for children with disabilities
6 weeks up to 5 years old2 years up to 5 years
Types of Providers
  • Center based
  • Home based
  • Approved friend, family member or neighbor
  • Center based
  • Home based
  • School based
Center based

Available Hours

(Varies by Provider)

Up to 24 hours
  • Regular Day: 8 AM to 3 PM
  • Extended Day: 8 AM to 6 PM
8 hours per day

Available Months

(Varies by Provider)

Full year
  • Regular Year: Sept to June
  • Extended Year: Full Year
Full year

Child care vouchers and contracted care options are explained below.

For Head Start programs, the best way to find out if your family is eligible is to contact a program directly. Visit the Head Start page to learn more.

Child Care for Families Receiving Cash Assistance

If your family currently receives public assistance or received benefits within the past 12 months, you should apply for child care assistance through the Human Resources Administration (HRA) instead of DOE or ACS.

If you are a working parent receiving public assistance (also known as cash assistance), you may be eligible for financial assistance for child care.

You can apply for assistance with any type of child care you choose, including:

  • Day care centers
  • Registered family child care
  • DOE child care programs
  • Informal care by neighbors, friends, or relatives

Monthly payments are made directly to the child care provider.

Eligibility

Eligible work activities include:

  • Employment assessment
  • Job search
  • Education
  • Training
  • Community service
  • Employment

In addition, you may be eligible if you:

  • Left cash assistance in the last 12 months because you got a job or had an increase in income that made you ineligible for cash assistance.
  • Have a job and are financially eligible for cash assistance, even if you don't receive benefits. This is child care instead of cash assistance.

How to Apply

If you are currently receiving cash assistance benefits, you can connect your ACCESS HRA Account to your cash assistance case and request assistance with child care online.

To apply for cash assistance and child care, visit ACCESS HRA.

Get Help

You can get more information by phone. You can also visit your local Benefits Access Center.

By Phone

  • Agency: Human Resources Administration
  • Phone Number: (718) 557-1399
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM
  • You can reach staff during business hours (except for City Holidays). You can get help in most languages. Automated Assistance is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In Person

You can get the locations, hours and phone numbers of Benefits Access Centers in your area. All Centers are accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

The HRA Benefits Access Center Concourse is moving to 845 Barretto Street, Bronx, NY starting on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Find a Benefits Access Center.

Eligibility is based on your residency, income, immigration status, and reason for care. It is verified using the documentation you submit with your application.

You can use the Eligibility Screener tool on the MyCity website to see if you may be eligible for child care assistance.

Use the Eligibility Screener tool on MyCity.

Income and Reason for Care Eligibility Requirements

You may qualify for child care assistance if your family's income is less than the amounts shown below:

Number of People in HouseholdMonthly Gross Household Income Before Taxes
2$5,624
3$6,948
4$8,271
5$9,594
6$10,918
7$11,166
8$11,414
9$11,662
10$11,910
11$12,158
12$12,406
13$12,654
14$12,903
15$13,151

You also need to have one of the following reasons for care (in a two parent household, both parents will need a reason for care):

  • ​You work 10+ hours per week
  • You are in an educational or vocational training program
  • You have been looking for work
  • You live in temporary housing (priority access)
  • You are attending services for domestic violence
  • You are receiving substance abuse treatment

Child Care Vouchers (ACS)

A child care voucher will help you cover most or all of the cost of child care at a qualified provider of your choice. 

Vouchers can be used at hundreds of center-based and home-based providers across the city. They may also be used to pay approved relatives, neighbors, or friends for child care. Vouchers can help pay for child care year-round for up to 24 hours a day. 

If you are found eligible for child care assistance and select this option, you will receive a voucher that you can complete with the child care provider you pick. After your child is enrolled with the provider, ACS will pay the provider directly each month. 

For more information about vouchers, visit nyc.gov/childcarevouchers

Contracted Care (DOE)

The Department of Education (DOE) provides a number of free or low-cost child care programs for families that qualify. These programs provide early care and education for children from six weeks up to five years old in center, home, or school based settings, all year round for up to ten hours a day. 

Eligibility is based on your family's income and needs. If you qualify and there is a seat available, your child can begin a program anytime during the year. If your first-choice program doesn’t have space, DOE will help you find other options. 

You can use the MySchools map to learn more about programs in your neighborhood.

You can apply on the MyCity website.

MyCity makes it easy to apply for assistance – both vouchers and contracted care – and track the status of your application.

Apply for child care financial assistance on MyCity.

If you applied through MyCity, you can check the status of your application on your account dashboard. Visit mycity.nyc.gov to log in to your account. 

Further Assistance

You can get more information from the agency handling your application. 

If you’re not sure which agency to contact, or need help with an application you already submitted, contact the MyCity Support Team.

Contracted Care (DOE)

If you applied for Contracted Care, contact DOE by emailing CCapplication@schools.nyc.gov.

Child Care Voucher (ACS)

If you applied for a Child Care Voucher, contact ACS by phone.

  • Agency: Administration for Children's Services
  • Division: Early Care and Education Hotline
  • Phone Number: (212) 835-7610
  • Business Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM; Wednesday: 9 AM - 3 PM

If you are found eligible for child care assistance, you will need to recertify your case every twelve months. 

The MyCity website accepts recertifications, even if you first applied on paper.

To recertify your family’s case, login or create a MyCity account on mycity.nyc.gov and go to the child care page. Click on "recertify."  Enter your name, case number, and date of birth of any child in your family who is enrolled in care. MyCity will load your case information and guide you through everything you need to submit to recertify.

If you recertify through MyCity, you do not need to submit or mail anything on paper.

If you would like to apply on paper, you can download copies of these forms online.

Download Child Care Recertification forms.

ACS Child Care Vouchers

Licensed center-based child care in New York City is regulated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). To find a licensed child care center in New York City, use NYC Child Care Connect.

Registered home-based child care in New York City is regulated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). To find a registered home-based child care program in New York City, use the NYS Child Care Search tool.

These search tools will allow you look up a specific provider by name, or all the providers in a specific borough or zip code. You can also search by different types of care, such as family day care. The results for a program will include contact information, address, capacity, when it first opened and the current status of its license or registration.

Whether you get a list from OCFS or DOHMH, this list is just a starting point. You will need to contact the provider to see if they have space for your child and if they are approved to accept child care vouchers. You should also visit the child care provider to make sure for yourself that this is the right match for your family.

DOE Contracted Programs

Use the MySchools map to learn more about programs in your neighborhood.

If your first-choice program doesn’t have space, DOE will help you find other options.

Child Welfare Services

If you are receiving prevention services or protective services and need child care assistance, your caseworker or case planner should submit a referral form to ACS's Division of Child and Family Well-Being. Please reach out to them to ensure they have all the information they need to submit your referral.

Foster Parents

If you are a working foster parent, you may be eligible for child care assistance. Your caseworker or case planner should submit a referral form to ACS's Division of Child and Family Well-Being. Please reach out to them to ensure they have all the information they need to submit your referral. 

Note that in a two parent household, both foster parents must be working to qualify for child care assistance.

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