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Child Care

Child care for infants and toddlers

EarlyLearn | NYC Department of Education (DOE)

1. How it Works

EarlyLearn programs provide free or low-cost child care and education for children six weeks to two years old. There are hundreds of programs in New York City that offer safe and positive learning environments for children.

  • EarlyLearn has:
    • Infant and Toddler programs for children aged six weeks to two years. These take place in centers or homes for up to 10 hours a day.
    • Early Head Start programs for pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers. These provide services for at least eight hours a day.
  • If you qualify and there is a seat available, your child can begin a program anytime during the year.
    • Eligibility is based on your family’s income, size, and needs.
    • Families will need to pay some of the cost if they do not get Cash Assistance, are not in foster care, or are not homeless.
  • Services are available for children with disabilities.

2. Determine your eligibility

For Early Head Start Programs

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Early Head Start is to contact a program directly. Your family may qualify for Early Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

For Infant/Toddler Programs Your family may qualify for these programs if your family’s income falls below a certain amount. You must also have at least one of these approved “reasons for care”:

  • You work 20+ hours per week
  • You are in an educational or vocational training program
  • You have been looking for work for up to 6 months
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are attending services for domestic violence

Take a short survey to see if you might be eligible for this or 30 other programs.

Am I Eligible?

3. What you need to include

It’s important to include the right documents when you apply. Your documents show whether the program is right for you.

This page can help you choose the right documents for your application.

Proof of who you are

For each person applying, any one document:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal or other religious certificate
  • Official hospital or birth records
  • Adoption records
  • Naturalization certificate

Proof of where you live

Proof of your income

Proof of citizenship/immigration status

Next section:

4. How to Apply

4. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply by mail

  1. Get and complete an application:
  2. Mail your application to:
    NYC DOE – Office of Student Enrollment
    PO BOX 377
    Maplewood, NJ 07040

Apply by mail

Apply in person

Come back to it later.
We can send you a link to this page to help you get back to it when you’re ready.

More ways to get help with this program

Visit the website

Get more information about EarlyLearn from NYCDOE.

Call 311

Ask for “EarlyLearn” if you need help finding a program.

Last Updated Monday, March 7th, 10:54am

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