NYC Resources 311 Office of the Mayor
NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Child Care & Head Start
ACS Child Care and Early Education

What is Subsidized Child Care?


The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) funds free or low cost subsidized child care services for eligible families living in New York City. Child care is available for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years, while children with special needs may be able to receive care through age18.

Subsidized child care is provided by ACS-funded:

  • Child care centers
  • Family child care networks

Am I Eligible for Subsidized Child Care?

You may be eligible for free or low cost child care based on your family’s income and your reason for requiring child care.

Acceptable Reasons for Requiring Child Care:

  • You are working or in an approved training or educational program
  • Your child or family is receiving services from either ACS or the Human Resources Administration (HRA).

Financial Eligibility
Financial eligibility is determined by a family’s gross income, with consideration of family size.  For subsidies funded by the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), family income must be at or below 200% of the State Income Standard (SIS).  Therefore, when funds are available, New York City makes provisions to serve higher income families in ACS Contract programs.  The maximum income for this New York City Tax Levy funding is:

  • 275% (SIS) for a family size of 2
  • 255% (SIS) for a family size of 3
  • 225% (SIS) for a family size of 4 or greater

ACS-Funded Programs

What Are ACS-Funded Programs?

ACS directly funds child care programs, which service eligible families. More than 300 child care centers, 60 family child care networks and over 250 Head Start programs are funded by ACS. ACS helps these programs, commonly referred to as contract programs, to provide:

  • A safe, healthy environment in a setting that is licensed or registered
  • Valuable early childhood learning experiences
  • Healthy meals and snacks
  • Trained, experienced staff members
  • A chance for parents to be involved in their children’s care

ACS-funded child care centers are licensed and all ACS family child care network providers are registered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to make sure they meet State and City standards.


What Types of ACS Funded Child Care Are Available?

Group Child Care Centers: Certified teachers care for your child in a licensed child care center. Group centers can provide care for children ages 6 weeks through pre¬kindergarten. Centers are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; although, some centers open earlier and stay open later.

Family Child Care Networks: Child care is provided in registered family child care homes and licensed group family child care homes. Family child care is available for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. Children with documented special needs may be eligible to receive child care through age 18. Regular hours of care are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for preschool children and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for school-age children, though some family child care providers open early, stay open late or have weekend hours.

  • Family Child Care Homes: A provider cares for up to 6 children depending on the age of the children in the provider’s home. The provider is registered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
  • Group Family Child Care Homes: The provider and an assistant may care for as many as 10 to 14 children, depending on the age of the children in the provider’s home. The provider’s home is licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Other Child Care Options:

Head Start: A free early educational program for children age 3 to 4 years old living in very low income families. Head Start includes family social services and emphasizes parental involvement. For more information on Head Start programs, call 311.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK): A free educational program available through the Department of Education for all eligible 4-year-olds. Programs are offered as either half day or full day in local elementary schools and community-based sites. For more information about Pre-K programs, call 311. Many ACS-funded child care centers include Universal Pre-Kindergarten.

Out of School Time (OST): After school programs available at no cost to all school-age children, from elementary to high school. Programs offer academics, arts and music, sports, and other recreational and cultural activities. For contact information of after school programs in your area, call 311.

How Can I Apply for Subsidized Child Care?

Families interested in subsidized child care should apply by contacting ACS- funded programs in your area to discuss availability, program requirements and the needs of your child. You are encouraged to visit the programs in order to choose the best care available. To receive contact information on ACS-funded child care programs or family child care networks in your area call 311.
For information on programs not funded by ACS, call the NYC Child Care Resource and Referral Consortium at 888-469-5999.

Once you have chosen a specific ACS-funded child care program, you will need to apply and submit the required documentation to that program.

How Do I Know My Child Will Be Safe and Healthy?

Everyone has a part to play here – however, parents have the final say. ACS has a major role, including:

  • Performing regular checkups of all funded group child care programs.
  • Making sure every family child care home working with an ACS-funded network receives regular visits.
  • Checking background references for staff in ACS-funded programs, family child care providers and other family members living in a registered family child care home; checking for records of abuse, neglect or criminal behavior.
  • Making sure that staff and family child care providers in ACS-funded programs have medical check-ups each year.

You can do even more. Choose licensed or registered child care centers or family child care providers. Be alert to what your child is saying about what goes on. Be sure to visit often, making sure that:

  • The grown-ups care about the children and treat them with respect.
  • The children are learning and growing, and involved in interesting activities.
  • You are happy with the approach and methods being used.

About the NYC Administration for Children’s Services

ACS's Division of Early Care and Education (ECE) administers the largest publicly-funded childcare system in the country, serving over 100,000 children. ACS recognizes that early childhood programs play a critical role in supporting young children’s development, learning, and preparation for both school and life success. Through our contracted system EarlyLearn NYC, a unique, groundbreaking education model that merges child care, Head Start, and Universal Pre-K into a single, seamless system, ECE provides quality early education services to eligible children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old in center and family child care settings. In addition, eligible families with children ages 6 weeks to 13 years old can be issued vouchers to purchase childcare from providers in the City.