The first step of applying for a permit to operate a child care center is to attend a Pre-Permit Orientation Session. The NYC Health Code requires attendance of all new applicants before submission of an application.
Registering for a Session
You may sign up for a Pre-Permit Orientation Session by using the Online Service Registration website. Advance registration is required.
What to Expect
The Pre-Permit Orientation Session will guide you through the application process and includes information on:
- Site viability to ensure the physical space and equipment is suitable for child care and meets the necessary requirements. Some examples include:
- Is the space free of safety hazards?
- Is there adequate space for each child?
- Is there proper egress from each floor?
- Is the location in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- Requesting a site inspection by a Public Health Sanitarian
- Obtaining testing for lead in drinking water in
accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 3Ts testing regimen, and a Lead-Based Paint Inspection Report
- Submitting architectural plans/blueprints from a licensed architect
- Obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy or a
Letter of No Objection from the NYC Buildings Department
- Preparing for a fire inspection by the NYC Fire Department
- Submitting a safety plan, including procedures for infant safe sleep, where appropriate
- Ensuring Educational Director and staff meet requirements
For additional resources related to starting and operating a Group Child Care program, please see the Group Child Care Resource List (PDF)
About the Child Care Permit
A child care permit is specific to one site and is not transferable. The permit contains the following information:
- Permit number
- Issue date
- Expiration date
- Name of program
- Address of program
- Permit capacity
- Floors and classrooms
- Ages of children
A permit is issued every two years for programs that remain in compliance.
What Permitted Child Care Centers Need to Know
Inspections and violations
The NYC Health Department inspects annually permitted child care services to monitor compliance with the NYC Health Code. Inspections are also conducted for
permit renewal, in response to complaints, and in follow-up to a citation (compliance inspections).
At the conclusion of the inspection the child care service will receive an inspection report from the inspector. The report provides the dates on which the child care service is required to correct the violations observed by Health Department staff.
There are three types of violations for which a citation may be issued:
Possible outcomes of an inspection:
- Public Health Hazards may present an imminent threat to health and safety of children. The most serious type of violation. Must be corrected by the child care operator within one business day of citation.
- Critical Violations are serious violations. Must be corrected by the child care operator within two weeks of citation.
- General Violations do not pose a direct threat to children. Must be corrected by the child care operator within one month of citation.
- Programs found to have Imminent Public Health Hazards that cannot be corrected at the time of the inspection may be closed by the Department and their permit suspended until such time as the condition has been abated.
- Programs found to have one Public Health Hazard or one Critical Violation or six or more General Violations, are required to be re-inspected. The Department shall conduct an unannounced re-inspection on or after the compliance date of the violation to confirm compliance.
- Programs receiving five or fewer General Violations are required to correct violation(s) within established timeframes. A compliance inspection may not necessarily be conducted by the Department.
Notices of Violation
Failure to correct Public Health Hazards or Critical Violations shall subject child care services to fines and other penalties. In these events the report shall be issued as a Notice of Violation (NOV). The NOV will direct the child care service to attend an administrative hearing at the Department’s Administrative Tribunal. The NOV shall provide information on the date, time and location of the hearing and procedures to answer the NOV. The child care service shall be afforded an opportunity to submit evidence to contest the findings of the Department, provide a defense and/or show compliance.
The Department at its discretion may issue NOVs at the initial citation of a violation.
You can visit the Health Tribunal’s webpage for assistance in understanding your NOV and guidance on how to respond
Corrective Action Plans (CAPs)
Under the NYC Health Code, CAPs are sometimes required to be submitted by permitted child care centers for Health Department approval.
- Infectious Disease: infection control and reporting of infectious diseases training for all teachers.
- Child abuse and Maltreatment: prevention, identification, and mandated reporting requirement. Two-hour training every two years for all employees and volunteers.
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid: at least one certified staff member must be on site during all hours of operation.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Shaken Baby identification and prevention: training for all staff in infant/toddler and night care programs.
- Assistant teachers must complete 15 hours of training every two years. This includes the mandatory child abuse and maltreatment training listed above and other topics about child health, child safety, and early childhood development.
For more information on how to obtain training, please see the Group Child Care Training Referral List.
Orientation for Parents Upon Enrollment
Upon enrollment in a child care service, parents must be provided with information on the program’s policies and procedures on supervision, attendance, admission, discharge, emergency and illness management. Parents must also be provided with the following publication:
Children’s Health and Nutrition
All children are required to have a medical examination before admission to the child care service, and age-appropriate medical examinations thereafter. All children must be immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (i.e., DPT), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and have any additional immunizations that the Health Department may require.
Centers are required to maintain current health records on all children and logs for accidents and illnesses.
Children should receive nutritionally balanced snacks and/or meals during the course of their day. Meals are brought from home must be properly stored.
Maintaining a safe sleep environment
Providers are required to maintain a safe sleep environment for children by ensuring line of sight supervision during periods of sleep, checking on sleeping infants every 15 minutes and recording their observations on forms provided or approved by DOHMH.
Programs are also required to develop emergency and critical incident response procedures, train all staff in emergency and critical incident response annually, and conduct regular emergency response and evacuation drills. Safety plans must include emergency and critical incident response policies and procedures, and safe sleep policies.
Learn about the requirements and training needed for administering medications in child care sites. Find approved Medication Administration Training (MAT) courses from the Professional Development Program of the State University of New York.
Lead Poisoning Prevention