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Fraud Alert

Child care providers

Beware of a telephone scam where the caller claims to have your CARES funds and asks for your financial information. The call may come from telephone number 1-866-978-5959.

This is attempted fraud. OCFS will NOT call you for your financial information. CARES grant awardees will be notified via email, NOT by telephone.

Report fraud: 1-800-HHS-TIPS or online

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services provides a range of resources to help parents with their child care needs, people who want to start or are currently running child care programs, and anyone with a concern about the health or safety of a child in a day care program.

Updates and Important Announcements

NY CARES2 Award Reimbursement Information

All requests for reimbursement should be submitted by completing and submitting the OCFS-5453 New York Forward COVID Reimbursement Request Form.

See the NY CARES program page for forms and more information.

Important Deadlines

  • Provider budget modifications should be submitted to OCFS at ocfs.sm.CARES2LR@ocfs.ny.gov 12/15/2020
  • Provider receipts may be submitted to the CCR&R up to 12/31/2020. see the Reimbursement Instructions for details.

See the CARES 2 Reimbursement Instructions & Allowable/Non-Allowable Expense chart for more information.

Updated Travel Restriction Guidance for Child Care Programs

There is updated travel guidance for child care workers in the Guidance Documents section.

Interim Guidance on COVID-19 Test-Out for Public and Non-Public Schools Located in Areas Designated as “Red or Orange Micro-Cluster Zones” Under the New York State Micro-Cluster Action Initiative

Under the authority of Executive Order 202.68, schools in red and orange zones must close in-person instruction for at least two weeks. On October 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced strict health guidelines, as detailed herein, for schools to reopen in red and orange cluster zones during this time in order to help keep schools in focus areas safely open to in person instruction. The guidelines require mass testing in schools before they reopen followed by intensive symptom and exposure screening conducted daily, as well as surveillance testing of 25% of the in-person student and faculty/staff weekly. New York State will provide rapid test kits upon request for schools wishing to participate.

CARES3 Grant Applications and Instructions for Child Care Programs

CARES 3 Reopening/Restructuring for Remote Learning and Temporary Operating Grant

These applications are for grants available throughout New York State from the federal CARES Act funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant opportunities are to assist reopening and expansion of capacity in child care programs by providing for supplies associated with reopening and expansion.

For more information, see the CARES 3 Reopening/Restructuring for Remote Learning and Temporary Operating Grant page.

For technical assistance and support with CARES 3 applications in English and Spanish please call the OCFS Human Services Call Center toll free at: 1-844-863-9316. Representatives are available to assist you.

October 29, 2020 - Now Available: Child Care Scholarships for Essential Workers

Guidance for Child Care Programs Located in Schools That are in COVID Red, Orange or Yellow Zones

In response to concerns about increases in COVID-19 cases appearing in clusters within communities and regions of New York, Executive Order 202.68 mandated the New York State Department of Health (DOH) determine the areas of the State that require enhanced public health restrictions due to a cluster or clusters of COVID-19 cases. Once identified, DOH will classify the area based on the risk for compromising the States containment of the COVID-19 virus. Severe risk is identified as a “red zone”; moderate risk is identified as an “orange zone”; and precautionary risk is identified as a “yellow zone”.

Dear Provider Letter — Legally-Exempt Group Programs in Schools in Red and Orange Zones

Dear Provider Letter - October 16, 2020 - Legally-Exempt Group Programs in Schools in Red and Orange Zones

This letter serves to inform legally-exempt (LE) child care programs located in a school that has been closed pursuant to Executive Order 202.68 of the impact that such order has on the ability to operate and eligibility for payment of child care subsidies.
October 16, 2020 Letter Word | October 16, 2020 Letter PDF - English

Policy 20-02: When Does Remote Learning Require a Child Care License or Registration?
Register Here: Remote Learning for Single-Purpose Program Notification Form

Policy 20-02 has been issued to provide guidance on whether a remote learning configuration is exempt from New York State Office of Children and Family Services child care licensure or registration. This policy statement can be found on the Child Care Policy page.

Remote Learning for Single-Purpose Program Notification Form

Programs intending to serve children under the single-purpose program exemption are requested to notify OCFS of the program including the location, number of children served daily and a point of contact including phone and email address, which must be completed on the online form.

Weekly Survey on Child Care Program Enrollment

OCFS is collecting information from licensed and registered child care providers to find out how many children are attending child care as New York reopens. All open and operating child care programs are asked to complete this survey every Wednesday.

If you are receiving a CARES2 Child Care Expansion Incentive, completing this form each week will satisfy the enrollment reporting requirement.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

As you are aware, a coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not previously been detected in humans. It can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and cases being diagnosed in other countries including the United States. And, the virus has been confirmed in New York State.

Child Care Subsidy Information

Child Care Subsidy Information in Regard to COVID-19

Effective immediately, local social services districts can expand the child care services they provide to families affected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Districts may select from the following options:

  • extend the eligibility period,
  • expand the definition of a child needing protective services,
  • expand the number of allowable absences,
  • expand the number of program closures,
  • extend eligibility up to 85% of the state median income level,
  • waive family shares, and
  • make other requests related to eligibility and/or administration of the child care subsidy program.

A letter to Commissioners and the waiver request form are provided below.

Download the waiver request letter as Word wainver request letter from March 16, 2020 and PDF waiver request letter from March 16, 2020.

Download the waiver request form as Word wainver request form from March 16, 2020 and PDF waiver request form from March 16, 2020.

Download the March 18, 2020 FAQ in Word.

Dear Provider Letters

Dear Provider Letters Regarding COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQ for Local Districts

OCFS has been receiving questions from local social services districts regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of the child care subsidy program. This FAQ for Local Districts provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 FAQ for Day Care Providers

As part of our commitment to sharing information with child care programs regarding the challenges they are experiencing related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), OCFS has compiled answers to questions we have been receiving from the child care community.

Guidance Documents

Travel Restriction Guidance for Child Care Programs

This updates the previously issued guidance from OCFS reflective of the new Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel. Updates include: New testing and quarantine criteria for travelers to New York from non-contiguous states and other countries.

In response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in certain states and countries, and to protect New York’s successful containment of COVID-19, New York State has issued a travel advisory for anyone coming to New York after travel to states that are not contiguous to New York, or after travel to any CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice country.

Interim Guidance on COVID-19 Test-Out for Public and Non-Public Schools Located in Areas Designated as “Red or Orange Micro-Cluster Zones” Under the New York State Micro-Cluster Action Initiative

Under the authority of Executive Order 202.68, schools in red and orange zones must close in-person instruction for at least two weeks. On October 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced strict health guidelines, as detailed herein, for schools to reopen in red and orange cluster zones during this time in order to help keep schools in focus areas safely open to in person instruction. The guidelines require mass testing in schools before they reopen followed by intensive symptom and exposure screening conducted daily, as well as surveillance testing of 25% of the in-person student and faculty/staff weekly. New York State will provide rapid test kits upon request for schools wishing to participate.

Guidance for Child Care Programs Located in Schools That are in COVID Red, Orange or Yellow Zones

In response to concerns about increases in COVID-19 cases appearing in clusters within communities and regions of New York, Executive Order 202.68 mandated the New York State Department of Health (DOH) determine the areas of the State that require enhanced public health restrictions due to a cluster or clusters of COVID-19 cases. Once identified, DOH will classify the area based on the risk for compromising the States containment of the COVID-19 virus. Severe risk is identified as a “red zone”; moderate risk is identified as an “orange zone”; and precautionary risk is identified as a “yellow zone”.

New CDC Supplemental Guidance on Child Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a Supplemental Guide for Child Care. Written in collaboration with the Offices of Child Care and Head Start for a variety of child care settings, this resource provides guidance specific to child care on issues such as:

  • Social distancing;
  • Child pick up and drop off procedures;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of toys and bedding;
  • Safely caring for infants and toddlers; and
  • Food preparation and meal service

In addition, the Guidance document provides numerous links to resources that provide even greater detail, including information regarding children’s risks concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Interim Guidance for Child Care and Day Camp Programs

The DOH interim guidance for child care and day care camp programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency has been updated to read:

  • Responsible Parties must limit groups to 15 or fewer children/campers, excluding employees/staff, in a specific area (e.g. room) at any given time.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure that different stable groups of up to 15 children/campers have no or minimal contact with one another or utilize common spaces at the same time, to the greatest extent possible.

Note: child care programs are still required to follow the staff/child ratios and maximum group sizes as set forth in regulation.

Related Forms

Updated Interim Testing Guidance: Protocol for COVID-19 testing with prioritization by job title/role

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to monitor the situation and work to expand COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic testing for New Yorkers. The attached document broadens the circumstances in which essential workers may request a COVID test by contacting the state’s COVID 19 testing hotline.

Use of Cloth Masks in Public

Dear Provider:

On April 12, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16. This order directs the use of face coverings by employees interacting with customers or members of the public. Specifically, for all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct interaction with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. Child care programs are an essential business and therefore must comply with this directive.

Per the attached guidance, direct interaction “shall include any employee who is routinely within close contact (i.e. six feet or less) with members of the public, including but not limited to customers or clients”.

Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.

Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.17 and 202.18 Requiring Face Coverings in Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Please continue to check OCFS website for updates/additional information on COVID response resources.

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and pursuant to Executive Order 202.5, issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on March 18, 2020, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has been granted the authority to waive certain background checks. This waiver allows legally exempt informal child care providers to enroll without completing the comprehensive background check process, subject to the certain conditions.

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance: May 18 CC Guidance PDF

20-OCFS-INF-09 - COVID-19 Guidance to Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for Congregate Settings for COVID-19

The Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection directions are available as Word document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance and PDF document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance.

Guidance Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to study and respond to the spread and effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Memo: Use of N95 Masks

Guidance: Use of N95 and Cloth Masks

20-OCFS-INF-08 - COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Download 20-OCFS-INF-08.

Download related forms:

Resources for Parents

Survey on Child Care Program Openings

The program openings survey will no longer be active after July 1, 2020. See above for information on the new enrollment survey.

OCFS is collecting information from licensed and registered child care providers to find out whether they have openings in their child care program, and if they have the capacity and desire to serve more children than their established capacity. Providers who have slots available in their program are asked to complete this survey every Wednesday. OCFS will share this information with stakeholders including the local child care resource and referral agencies to help connect parents in need of child care with available slots in their community.

Parent Need for Care Survey

The parent need for care survey will no longer be active after July 10, 2020.

If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need.

National Diaper Bank for Parents to Access Diapers During this Challenging Time

If you or someone you know needs diapers, there may be assistance in your community.

To find out if an agency in your area provides diaper assistance to families in need, please call 2-1-1 on your phone or search online at 2-1-1.org. Specialist are available 24/7 to help identify local resources that may be able to help provide diapers and other basic necessities.

For more information wisit the National Diaper Bank.

Webinars

New Webinar Video Available

Child Care Providers and Federal Assistance: Small Business Administration Loans and Loan Forgiveness

Tom Copeland’s Small Business Administration Opportunities and Economic Relief for Child Care Providers webinar recorded on April 9, 2020 is available for viewing.

Go to the video of the webinar.

Comprehensive Background Clearance Information

New Emergency Regulations

OCFS issued new emergency regulations that make changes to the rules for comprehensive background checks to ease the burden on programs and parents. These new regulations went into effect on February 7, 2020. You can find them here: ocfs.ny.gov/main/legal/Regulatory/er/.

Policy Directives

Frequently Asked Questions - Update February 11, 2020

QUALITYstarsNY

Quality Stars

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State's quality rating and improvement system. It is a voluntary program to rate, improve and communicate levels of quality in all regulated early care and learning programs. Read more about the important QUALITYstarsNY initiative.