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You can apply for financial assistance to pay for child care services at an EarlyLearn NYC child care program. EarlyLearn NYC is funded by the Administration for Children's Services (ACS).

You can:

  • Learn more about EarlyLearn NYC
  • Find out if you are eligible
  • Locate a City-funded child care program
  • Obtain an application
  • Check the status of an application
  • Learn how to recertify your benefits

EarlyLearn NYC Programs

ACS child care programs are called EarlyLearn NYC. ACS helps to support hundreds of EarlyLearn NYC child care programs across the City. The programs are sometimes called "ACS-funded" or "ACS-contracted." ACS does not operate these programs. However, ACS assists eligible families with paying for child care at these centers or networks of family child care homes.

You must qualify to receive financial assistance for child care. The amount of the fee that you pay depends on your family's income.

ACS will provide child care assistance at contract centers and family child care networks for eligible children from 6 weeks old through 4 years old. Not all centers and networks accept infants. You must check with the program to see if their minimum age is 6 weeks, 18 months, or 2 years.

Learn more about financial assistance for child care.

If you are a working parent receiving public assistance, you may be eligible for financial assistance for child care.

Eligible work activities include:

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

In addition, you may be eligible if you:

  • Left public assistance in the last 12 months because you got a job
  • Have a job and are eligible for public assistance, even if you don't receive benefits

You can apply for assistance with any type of child care you choose, including day care centers, registered family child care, or informal care by neighbors, friends, or relatives. You may also choose an ACS child care program. Monthly payments will be made directly to the child care provider.

For additional information, contact your Job Center.

  • Agency: Human Resources Administration
  • Phone Number: (718) 557-1399
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM
  • Staff is available through the automated phone system during business hours. Automated assistance is also available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish. Most languages are available through a staff person.

ACS provides financial assistance to eligible families for children 6 weeks old through 4 years old. Families must meet financial and social eligibility requirements to qualify for assistance with child care payments.

Ages of Children Eligible for Financial Assistance

Before 6 weeks old:

  • ACS does not provide financial assistance for infants younger than 6 weeks old.

6 weeks old through 4 years old:

  • Care is provided in ACS-funded child care centers and ACS-funded family child care homes.
  • Not all centers and networks accept infants. You must check with the program to see if their minimum age is 6 weeks, 18 months, or 2 years.

5 years and older:

  • Families receiving Public Assistance or Welfare should go to their job center for information.
  • After-school and Out of School Time programs are available for school-aged children.

Social Eligibility

To be socially eligible for financial assistance, your family must have an approved "reason for care" as defined by New York State.

These reasons include:

  • Families who have a parent or head of household who is employed
  • Families in which the parent is in an approved vocational or educational training program
  • The family is involved in a child welfare case
  • The family is receiving public assistance and needs child care in order to work or participate in a work-related activity

How to Determine Eligibility

You can find out if your family meets the eligibility requirements once you start the application process. Applications and assistance are available online, by phone or in person at any ACS-funded child care program, or by mail.

ACCESS NYC is an online tool that helps parents find out if they are eligible for financial assistance for child care. It guides you through the steps of enrolling in a child care program.

ACS will make the final eligibility decision after reviewing your application and all required documents.

Applications and instructions are available online, in person at any ACS-funded child care program, or by mail. You can get help with the eligibility, application, and enrollment process from any ACS-contracted EarlyLearn NYC child care center or network.

Your application should be submitted at the ACS-funded child care program you select. The child care program will forward your application to ACS. You should not mail applications directly to ACS.

Online

If you are eligible for financial assistance, you can download and print a blank application form. You can also view the lists of ACS-funded EarlyLearn NYC child care programs for each borough.

Check if you qualify for financial assistance and get an application.

By Phone or In Person

You can get the location of an EarlyLearn NYC child care center or network that can help with the eligibility, application, and enrollment process for child care financial assistance. Application forms are also available from these programs.

Use Site Finder to search for a Child Care Center. Confirm the age group accepted when you speak to the child care center or network.

By Mail

You can get an information packet about financial assistance for child care by mail.

The packet includes:

  • Descriptions of the types of child care available
  • Eligibility guidelines
  • The process for selecting a child care program
  • An application
  • A list of EarlyLearn NYC programs

Information and instructions are printed in both English and Spanish.

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

The steps in the process for applying for financial assistance are:

  1. Find out if your family appears to be eligible.
  2. Select an ACS-funded child care program. It is recommended that you visit the program, to help decide if the setting is right for your child.
  3. Collect and complete the necessary documents, including an application.
    • Documentation such as proof of identity, address, and income are required.
  4. Go to the ACS-funded child care program you’ve selected, to review and submit your application.
    • The application should be submitted at the ACS-funded child care program you’ve selected. The child care program will forward your application to ACS. Parents should not mail applications directly to ACS.
  5. ACS will review the application forwarded by the child care center and make a decision about your family’s eligibility for financial aid.
    • If ACS determines that your family is eligible, information on enrollment and about your part of the fee will be mailed to you. There will be instructions to call the child care program you selected to schedule an orientation session.

If ACS determines that your family is not eligible for financial assistance, an explanation will be mailed to you.

One Application for Each Family

When you apply for financial assistance for child care, you are applying to see if your family is eligible. You only need to submit one application, even if you need child care for several children. You should include all children on the one application, and bring the application to the child care center or network you have selected.  The center will submit the application to ACS for you. (Do not mail your application directly to ACS.)

Even if you have selected a different child care center for each child, you still need only one application. Include all of your children on the application, and bring it to one of the centers you’ve chosen. That center will submit the application to ACS for you. You should then notify the other center you have chosen for your other child or children that you have submitted the application to the first center.

Timeframe for Eligibility Decision

After you submit your application to the ACS-funded child care program you selected, that program will then forward your application to ACS. ACS will review the application to determine if your family is eligible for financial assistance. ACS usually makes a decision within 10 days after receiving the application from the child care program. You will be notified of the decision by mail.

Child with Special Needs

The application process, as well as eligibility requirements for financial assistance, are the same for a child with a developmental or physical disability as they are for other children.

Because of limited funding, vouchers for non-ACS programs are currently only issued to eligible families receiving Public Assistance. Families who receive Special Child Care Funding are not eligible for Special Needs Rate.

ACS Formerly Known as Agency for Child Development (ACD)

The Administration for Children Services (ACS) was once called the Agency for Child Development (ACD). This old label still appears on some ACS forms and office entrances.

You can get locations and phone numbers for EarlyLearn NYC child care centers and family child care networks that are funded by ACS. These programs will also assist you with determining eligibility and with processing your application.

Use Site Finder to search for a Child Care Center. Confirm the age group accepted when you speak to the child care center or network.

Child Care Center versus Family Child Care Home

In a Group Child Care Center, certified teachers care for children in a child care center.

In a Family Child Care Home, child care takes place in a registered provider's home. Family child care providers are sponsored by family child care networks that have contracts with ACS EarlyLearn NYC. The networks will help parents locate a family child care home.

If you are receiving financial assistance for child care from ACS, you must recertify eligibility at least every 12 months.

You will receive notification in the mail when it is time to recertify, approximately 30 days before recertification is due.

Assistance will be provided if you have questions about the recertification packet you received or about how to recertify your eligibility.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

You should submit your application for child care financial assistance at the ACS-funded EarlyLearn NYC child care center or network that you have selected. The child care program will forward your application to ACS. ACS will review the application and make a decision about your family's eligibility for financial aid.

If you submitted your application more than 10 days ago and have not received mail from ACS, you should check with your selected child care program.

If the program has not received a response either, ACS will research the status for you.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

You can get help if you and your family are currently clients of the Administration for Children’s Services and are receiving any of the following:

  • Child care
  • Foster care
  • Preventative services
  • Protective services

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

Vouchers are a subsidized child care payment method that allows parents to select a non-ACS center or non-ACS family child care home.

Due to limited funding, vouchers are currently issued only to eligible families receiving Public Assistance or Welfare. If your family does not receive Public Assistance and you want to be placed on the ACS Voucher Wait List, ACS can mail a form to you.

Since funding for Vouchers is limited, families who are in need of financial assistance for child care can select an ACS EarlyLearn NYC program. EarlyLearn NYC programs do not require vouchers.

Voucher Wait List Information

There is limited funding for vouchers for a non-ACS center or non-ACS family child care home.

If your family does not receive Public Assistance and you want to be placed on the ACS Voucher Wait List, you can submit a “Voucher Wait List Request Form.” 311 can transfer you to ACS to request the form.

After ACS reviews and approves your request, your child will be placed on the voucher wait list and you will receive a notice confirming your place on the wait list. ACS will notify you if additional funds are made available and ask you to provide documentation to verify your child’s eligibility.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

Submit a Voucher Wait List Form

You can submit your completed Voucher Wait List Request Form by mail or email.

By Mail

NYC Administration for Children’s Services
Division of Early Care and Education
Attention: New VWL Request
66 John Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10038

By Email

If you want to scan and email your completed form, send it to:

VoucherWL@acs.nyc.gov

You can make a complaint that an EarlyLearn NYC child care center or network did not assist you with:

  • Determining if your family may be eligible for financial assistance for child care
  • Getting an application form
  • Completing the application form
  • Determining what other forms and documentation are required to apply
  • Submitting your application at that center or network
  • The enrollment process

If you need to file a general complaint about a child care facility, including a program or provider operating without a license, submit a Day Care Center Complaint instead.

Online

Email the Administration for Children's Services.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

Notice of Intent Letter Received

Some parents received a letter from ACS with a New York State "Notice of Intent to Change Child Care Benefits.” The date that your family's Transitional Child Care voucher will end is in the "Effective Date" box on the notice.

If you disagree with this decision, follow the instructions to appeal on the back of the Notice.

Because of a lack of available funds, eligible families who request vouchers will be placed on a Voucher Wait List. If you are eligible for a child care subsidy, you will receive a notice from ACS soon that tells you your wait list number. You will be notified by ACS if additional funds are made available.

Special Child Care Funding (SCCF) Letter Received

Some parents have received a letter from ACS about additional funding for child care services, known as Special Child Care Funding (SCCF). When Special Child Care Funds become available, families of children on the ACS Voucher Wait list will receive a letter from ACS with instructions on how to apply for the special funds.

The letter has SCCF-1 printed in the top right-hand corner. It includes an SCCF application to be completed by both the parent and the program/provider. Due to limited funding, families should submit their completed application with supporting documentation by the date indicated in the letter. Families will be notified of ACS' eligibility decision.

If you received this letter and need more information, you can call the phone number in your letter, or 311 will connect you.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.