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Child Care

Free or low-cost child care for children six weeks to two years old

Infants and Toddlers | 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.

  • Child care options include:
    • 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.
  • As long as your child has legal status, they are eligible for care regardless of the parents’ legal status.
  • Eligibility is based on your family’s income, size, and needs.
  • Families will need to pay some of the cost of child care if they do not get Cash Assistance, are not in foster care, or are not homeless.

2. Determine your eligibility

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
  • You may also qualify if your household income is at or below these amounts:
Family size Yearly income
1 $14,580
2 $19,720
3 $24,860
4 $30,000
5 $35,140
6 $40,280
7 $45,420
8 $50,560
For each additional person, add: $5,140

Infant/Toddler Programs

You must have at least one of these approved “reasons for care”:

  • You work 10+ hours per week
  • You are in an educational or vocational training program
  • You are starting to look for work or have been looking for work for up to 6 months. This includes looking for work while receiving unemployment
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are attending services for domestic violence
  • You are receiving treatment for substance abuse
  • You may qualify if your household income is at or below these amounts:
Family size Monthly income Yearly income
1 $4,301 $51,610
2 $5,624 $67,490
3 $6,948 $83,370
4 $8,271 $99,250
5 $9,594 $115,130
6 $10,918 $131,010
7 $11,166 $133,987
8 $11,414 $136,965
9 $11,662 $139,942
10 $11,910 $142,920
11 $12,158 $145,897
12 $12,406 $148,875
13 $12,654 $151,852
14 $12,903 $154,830
15 $13,151 $157,807


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

Am I Eligible?

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3. How to Apply

3. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply in person

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More ways to get help with this program

Visit the website

Get more information about childcare from NYCDOE.

Last Updated November 8, 2023

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