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Early Childhood Services in New York City


  • New York City is responsible for the health and safety of over 300,000 children (birth - 5 years old) in more than 30,000 programs. These include licensed and/or registered programs as well as those that are licensed exempt.
  • According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), as of February 2005, there were:
    • 5,700 Family Day Care Providers
    • 2,530 Group Family Day Care Providers
    • Over 2,000 Group Day Care Centers
  • In addition to the numbers cited by DOHMH, there are over 20,000 Informal Providers who are paid by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and by the Human Resources Administration (HRA).

Strong child care regulations are an important means of ensuring child care quality.

  • City and state regulations exist for the supervision of children, sleeping and napping arrangements, discipline, admissions policies, health and infection control, maintaining health records, and administering medication.
  • Other regulations include qualifications for teachers, directors, family child care providers, program activities, and teacher-to-child ratios.
  • Safety standards cover requirements for indoor and outdoor physical space and equipment, and program size.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

In New York City, oversight of child care is the responsibility of the DOHMH.

  • The DOHMH monitors publicly funded and privately run group child care to make sure these programs are in compliance with NYC Health Code.
  • The DOHMH also monitors school-age child care, family child care, and group family child care under a contract with the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
    • Monitoring is performed to ensure that these programs comply with NYS Social Services Law.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH):

  • Creates and publicizes regulations for NYC group child care centers
  • Issues permits for privately operated and publicly funded family child care homes and group child care
  • Informs providers of legal requirements and regulations for child care services
  • Provides assistance so that providers can understand and comply with regulations
  • Maintains a database of all child care programs in the City
  • Inspects privately operated and publicly funded child care programs
  • Offers basic health and safety training
   Visit their website

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)

The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS):

  • Provides child care to low-income families through contracts with center based programs and with family child care networks; and through vouchers that can be used at private, family, and informal child care centers
  • Monitors over 400 ACS-contracted child care centers and Head Start programs
  • Provides training and technical assistance to contracted Head Start and child care programs
  • Provides parents with information about publicly-funded child care
  • Makes referrals to local programs
  • Inspects contracted programs
  • Is responsible for licensing paperwork and for providing technical assistance
   Visit their website

Human Resources Administration (HRA)

The Human Resources Administration (HRA):

  • Provides vouchers for child care to families receiving public assistance or transitioning from public assistance
    • These vouchers may be spent on regulated child care or for informal child care
  • Helps parents understand their child care options and provides referrals services
  • Funds training initiatives like the HRA/CUNY Informal Family Child Care Training Project, which offers Peer Support Groups for Informal Providers
  • Offers technical assistance and support services to the Informal Providers it pays
   Visit their website

Department of Education

The New York City Department of Education (DOE):

  • In New York City, the Department of Education (DOE) public schools educate over a million students in more than twelve hundred schools located throughout the 5 boroughs.

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program:

  • Works together with community based Early Childhood agencies to provide early child care and education programs
  • Served children in UPK programs: 27,241 in community based organizations, and 18,787 in public schools, for the 2004/2005 school year

Universal Pre-Kindergarten is designed to:

  • Provide all four-year-old preschool-aged children with an opportunity to participate in a supportive, literacy-rich educational environment before entering kindergarten
  • Increase participation of preschool students with disabilities in pre-kindergarten programs
  • Provide high quality Early Childhood programs aligned with the New York State Learning Standards
  • Meet the social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, cultural and physical needs of children
   Visit their website