Invest in New York - Child Care Deserts Grant for New Providers

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Applications are now being accepted for new providers who have completed their orientation, received their facility ID, and are ready to apply! Be sure your correct address is on file with your OCFS assigned regulator prior to applying.

Check out the Grant Portal Training Resources section of this page for step-by-step instructions on navigating the application.

The application portal will close on May 19, 2022 at 11:59PM.


Please note: This grant opportunity is for providers who were not licensed prior to January 28, 2022. OCFS has released a second grant opportunity for existing licensed providers looking to expand capacity. For more information on that opportunity, see the Grant for Existing Providers page.

Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320

Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Program Overview

New York State identified $100M to build and expand child care capacity in areas with the least supply. Utilizing funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), child care desert funding represents an unprecedented opportunity and investment to build capacity and strengthen the state’s economy, by addressing the issues that impact businesses including chronic absence, productivity reductions and turnover due to inadequate options for quality child care in the most needed parts of the state.

Child Care Desert Definition

The standard definition of a child care desert involves not having enough licensed/registered child day care slots to adequately serve the number of children in a geographic area. For this funding opportunity, the geographic area used to measure population is a census tract. An area is identified as a child care “desert” if there are three or more children under the age of five per available child care slot in local day care centers, family day care, or group family day care programs.

OCFS and the Council on Children and Families (CCF) have created an online mapping tool illustrating the locations of New York State’s child care deserts, which are the areas eligible for funding under the request for applications (RFA). To view the detailed REDC Child Care Deserts map visit bit.ly/cc_deserts.

Important Dates

General Requirements of RFA1 for New Providers

All interested parties must complete the OCFS Child Day Care Orientation before applying for the Invest in NY Child Care Grant for New Providers. After completing the Orientation, applicants can request a licensing application.

Programs applying to become an NYC DOHMH Article 47 day care center, must attend a pre-permit orientation (check the box next to “Group Child Care and Summer Camp Orientation Sessions”, then click “Continue” at the bottom of the page) before applying for a new permit. After you have attended that orientation, you can apply for a permit for a new child care program.

All awarded programs will be expected to enroll and participate in the QUALITYStarsNY Start with Stars program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are child care deserts?

Child care deserts are areas of the state that do not have enough licensed/registered child day care slots to adequately serve the number of children in the geographic area.

When will the application portal open?

The application portal is now open for new providers who have completed their orientation, have received their facility ID, and are ready to apply! Apply to the Grant Program.

I tried to start my application, but I have questions. Where can I get more information on navigating the grant application portal?
I run a program that was licensed in December 2021. Can I still apply for this grant?
  • The Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant for New Providers (RFA1) is for programs who were not licensed prior to January 28, 2022. Providers who were licensed before January 28, 2022 and are looking to expand capacity under their existing license may be eligible to apply for the Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant for Existing Providers (RFA2). For more information on this opportunity, see the Grant for Existing Providers page.
Have more questions?
The complete FAQ is also available in other languages.
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Grant Application Process

The application process has five components:

Step 1: Review Licensing and Grant Requirements

Review RFA1 for New Providers and complete the online OCFS Child Day Care Orientation or NYC orientation. You will need to create an account to start the orientation video. The video is 1hr long.

After completing the video orientation, providers must request a licensing or registration application, either electronically for day care centers or sent via postal mail for home-based providers.

For NYC DOHMH potentially permitted programs, providers should visit the permitting information web page.

OCFS and the Council on Children and Families (CCF) have created an online mapping tool outlining the Census Tracts in NYS that are child care deserts as well as a potential score on this RFA should a program apply from that area. All applicants should review the map carefully for more details on their proposed program site: https://bit.ly/cc_deserts.

Important Notes:

Step 2: Determine the Child Care Program Business Type

The grant application will require that providers identify their business entity type, such as a business or a nonprofit organization. Providers will be asked to provide the Tax Identification number, and type (Employer ID No. (EIN), Social Security No. (SSN) Individual Taxpayer ID No. (ITIN) that will be used to submit tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service and the legal business name.

Because starting an organization can take time, applicants are encouraged to submit these materials as soon as possible.

If you have questions on this information, you should ask your accountant, lawyer or seek information from your local CCR&R and/or Small Business Development Center.

Step 3: Attend a Regional Session

Attend the announced Child Care Deserts regional information sessions that will be held prior to application submission. Please note the topic of these sessions is on how to become a child care provider, not on the grant opportunity. While attendance is not mandatory, the sessions will provide important information to help providers succeed. Refer to RFA Section 1.3 Technical Assistance Sessions for Applicants for the full training list, it includes technical assistance in the areas of best business practices, determining community daycare needs, and application process and submission training.

Step 4: Submit a Grant Application

The grant application portal is now live!

Providers will complete an online application to provide details on their proposed program and how it will address child care deserts, infant and toddler slots and/or non-traditional hours (if applicable) in their area of the State. Providers may submit their application for licensure prior to receiving notice of grant approval.

OCFS and the Council on Children and Families (CCF) have created an online mapping tool outlining the Census Tracts in NYS that are child care deserts as well as a potential score on this RFA should a program apply from that area. All applicants should review the REDC Child Care Deserts Map carefully for more details on their proposed program site: bit.ly/cc_deserts.

Step 5: Complete Licensing and Pre-Award Requirements and Contracting

Once granted pre-approval, providers must complete the licensing process for the proposed capacity to receive funding. A license for a new program must be granted within 120 days from the date on the grant pre-approval letter to the provider unless there are extenuating circumstances and the provider submits documentation demonstrating that the delay is out of the providers control for OCFS final determination. OCFS will apply the same review criteria to all provider submissions. Once the required license is granted, OCFS will proceed review process for the Child Care Desert Grant funding. If the license is not granted within 120 days (from the date on the grant pre-approval letter, OCFS reserves the right to withdraw its pre-approval and funding.

Please note: If the license is not granted within 120 days, applicants will not be open and operating which means they cannot meet the grant deliverables to receive all eight (8) payments. If they are licensed during the grant period (after 120 days) and meet all grant requirements, they would eligible for the initial payment and any remaining quarterly payments available in the grant period.

Applicants with an approved license and who meet all pre-award requirements will receive a formal letter informing them of their award based on their approved licensed capacity. If an applicant with pre-approval is not able to be licensed, OCFS will rescind their pre-approval and no award will be made to the program.

To be approved for formal award and payment, all programs must be in good standing with OCFS or NYC, be deemed a responsible vendor by OCFS and must agree to follow all regulations promulgated by OCFS and the New York State Department of Health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other grant reporting requirements. Grant payments made directly to the child care provider will be based on the type of program, maximum capacity allowed under the license, and adjusted for geography.

Grant Portal Training Resources

The following resources can be used to learn more about navigating the Invest in NY – Child Care Deserts Portal:

Quick Reference Guides

Getting Started
Completing the Application
  1. Application Step 1: General Applicant Information - Step 1 Applicant Information English | Step 1 Applicant Information Español
  2. Application Step 2: Program Details - Step 2 Program Details English | Step 2 Program Details Español
  3. Application Step 3: Program Capacity Information - Step 3 Program Capacity English | Step 3 Program Capacity Español
  4. Application Step 4: Options for Use of Funds - Step 4 Use of Funds English | Step 4 Use of Funds Español
  5. Application Step 5: Payment Information - Step 5 Payment Information English | Step 5 Payment Information Español
  6. Application Step 6: Vendor Responsibility - Step 6 Vendor Responsibility English | Step 6 Vendor Responsibility Español
  7. Application Step 7: Review Application - Step 7 Review English | Step 7 Review Español
  8. Application Step 8: Provider Attestations - Step 8 Attestations English | Step 8 Attestations Español
Additional Reference Guides

Find Child Care Deserts in NY

To view the detailed REDC Child Care Deserts map you can select the map below or visit bit.ly/cc_deserts.

Child Care Deserts Map Instructions: Child Care Deserts Map Instructions English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructions Spanish / Español

Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video: Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video Spanish / Español

(Supporting data used to create the Child Care Deserts map.)

Link to REDC Child Care Deserts application
REDC Child Care Deserts Map

Find Child Care Priorities in your Region

Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) collaborated with their REDC and other stakeholders to compile the child care priorities for their region. Potential applicants should review the priorities for their region to learn more about the needs of parents and families.

Resources for Understanding the Child Care Deserts Program

All questions regarding the Child Care Deserts Program RFA1 for New Providers must be submitted to the RFA email box at investnychildcare@ocfs.ny.gov. Questions will be answered on a rolling basis.

Additional Information

Resources for Opening a Child Care Center

If you are new to child care and looking to open a facility for the first time the following resources are provided to assist you with this process.

For more information on the training needed to become licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training site. You can also check out Orientation Sessions in your area on how to open a child care program

Technical Assistance and Support

Child Care Resource and Referral agencies are key partners in assisting with the child care provider licensing process. Statewide, there are 35 CCR&Rs covering every county. To find out who your CCR&R is, check the OCFS Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies directory.

For more information on becoming a New York City permitted Article 47 child care center, visit the NYC Group Child Care (Center-based) — Information for Operators site.

For more information on the training need to become licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training site.

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Child Care Deserts Help Line

Contact us by phone:

Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320

Hours:

M-F: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.