Starting a Child Care Program

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The Office of Children and Family Services provides support for people and organizations interested in starting child day care programs in their communities. As a general rule, any child day care program planning to serve three or more children, for more than three hours a day on a regular basis, must obtain a license or registration. Before becoming licensed or registered, the applicant must show that the proposed child day care program meets requirements established to promote the health and safety of children in care.

To obtain an application for a child care program license or registration, you will take the Child Day Care Orientation. This orientation will help you decide if operating a child care program in New York State is right for you. It outlines requirements for opening a child care program, spaces where care can be provided, the ratios of children to adults, and resources for providers. Orientation includes important rules and regulations you need to know to run your business. You will also find information on how to best care for children in your program.

To get more information about operating a day care center in New York City, contact the New York City Department of Health, Bureau of Day Care, phone: 311, TTY number: (212) 504-4115, or go to the website.

To obtain an application for a child care program license or registration in the following languages: بى (Arabic), বাঙালি (Bengali), 中文 (Chinese), Francais (French), Kreyòl ayisyen (Haitian-Creole), Italiano (Italian), 한국어 (Korean), Polski (Polish), Русскийy (Russian), Español (Spanish), יידיש (Yiddish), please contact (518) 474-9454 for assistance.

The Office maintains a network of Regional Offices that can provide you with application materials, information about the process of starting a program, and help with understanding the legal requirements.

In addition to the Regional offices, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCRR) provide information to new and prospective child care providers about many aspects of program start up and eligibility for funding to assist you in starting or expanding your child care program.

Information for Applicants

Provider Training

Program Development

Program development is an integral part of child care programming. As a child care providers, you have a huge responsibility to positively influence the minds of the children in your care. There is a vast array of resources, networks, professional training, and useful tools for self-evaluating and enhancing your skill sets as a child care professional below:


Health and Safety

Emergency Planning

Child Care Assistance Program