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NYS Early Childhood Family Guide

The New York State Council on Children and Families has updated the NYS Early Childhood Family Guide on early childhood services to include information on a range of supports for families.

Request for Child Care

To help ease the burden on families in their search for child care, OCFS, in partnership with the Early Care and Learning Council, Inc., has created a common Request for Child Care form. Parents can complete this form one time and submit it to any child care provider they may be interested in using to care for their child(ren).

Help Paying for Child Care

The Office of Children and Family Services is committed to providing assistance with child care costs to eligible families through the Child Care Subsidy Program. Child care subsidies can help parents/caretakers pay for some or all of the cost of child care services.

Read general information about child care subsidies and find out if you are eligible for assistance.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. For more information go to the United States Department of Agriculture website at or the New York State Department of Health website at

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary help for needy men, women, and children. If you are unable to work, can’t find a job, or your job does not pay enough, temporary assistance may be able to help you pay for your expenses.  Families that need information about Temporary Assistance (TA) should visit their local department of social services or go the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (NYSOTDA) website at

myBenefits - New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

OTDA’s is a prescreening tool that provides a quick, easy way for New York State residents to find benefits they might be eligible to receive. Searching this page may take about ten minutes. The information is confidential.

Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs. Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5 and their families.  Early Head Start serves pregnant women and their families and children birth to age 3 and their families.  Families looking for Head Start and Early Head Start Programs should visit the New York State Education Department website at and search for programs by county.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

HEAP is a federally funded program that assists eligible households in meeting their home energy needs. Families can apply on line at

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP - formerly known as Food Stamps)

SNAP issues monthly benefits redeemable at authorized retail food stores.  Families can apply for SNAP on line at

Infant Formula Assistance

Resources if you or someone you know can't find infant formula for your baby: Infant Formula Shortage Assistance.

Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

WIC helps families pay for formula and other nutritious foods.  Families can check their eligibility for this program on line at

New York State of Health Market Place

You and your family have many new, low cost, quality health insurance options available through the Individual Marketplace. You can quickly compare health plan options and apply for assistance that could lower the cost of your health coverage. You may also qualify for health care coverage from Medicaid or Child Health Plus through the Marketplace. You can check your eligibility on line at

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Early Intervention Program

In New York State, the lead agency for the Early Intervention Program (EIP) is the Department of Health (NYSDOH). Primary referral sources, including health care providers, social service providers, child care providers, providers of EIP services, and a range of professionals involved in caring for young children, are required to refer children at risk for or suspected of having a disability to the EIP, unless the parent objects to a referral. For children at risk, the EIP coordinates screening and tracking to ensure that children are referred for EIP services if they experience developmental delay or disability.

Families interested in obtaining more information about EIP should visit the NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Early Intervention website at or contact the Bureau of Early Intervention at (518) 473-7016 or via e-mail at

Preschool Special Education Program and Services

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers, through local school districts, preschool special education programs and services for preschool students with disabilities, ages 3 to 5 years of age. The Board of Education (BOE) or trustees of each school district are required to identify all students with disabilities who reside in the school district and establish a register of children who are entitled to attend public schools in the district or to attend a preschool program during the next school year. In addition, various people can refer a child to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), such as the parent, doctor, judicial officer, designated person in a public agency, or someone from an Early Childhood Direction Center, an approved preschool program or the Early Intervention Program (EIP). Parents seeking additional information about preschool special education program and services should visit the New York State Education Department at

Bureau of Housing and Support Services (BHSS)

The Bureau of Housing and Support Services administers an array of programs to address the problems of homelessness in the State. These programs provide a continuum of services for homeless, at risk and low-income households. BHSS programs are designed to prevent homelessness, provide shelter for the homeless, construct supportive housing for the homeless and offer essential services to stabilize housing situations and increase levels of self-sufficiency. To accomplish this, BHSS administers the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), as well as a range of support services programs for homeless and at risk families and individuals, including the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP), and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing Program (OSAH).

For more information about the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance - Bureau of Housing and Support Services, please visit their website at: