Child care for babies & toddlers

EarlyLearn NYC Child Care | NYC Administration for Children's Services

1. How it Works

Your child can get free child care through EarlyLearn NYC. EarlyLearn gives your child a safe and clean place to stay during the day, with games and education, preparing your child for Pre-K. Children in EarlyLearn get healthy meals and snacks and can stay for up to 10 hours each day.

  • If you are receiving Cash Assistance and in an HRA-approved work, education, or training activity you are probably eligible
  • Services are available for children with special needs
  • Child care options are also available through the EarlyLearn Head Start program (for three and four year olds) and private programs

More ways to get help with this program

Visit the website

Visit the EarlyLearn NYC Child Care website for more information.

Call 311

Ask for EarlyLearn Child Care if you need help finding a program.

Visit a center

Visit an EarlyLearn center near you for help in person.

2. Determine your eligibility

To be eligible, you should be able to answer yes to these questions:

  • Is your child between six weeks and four years old?
  • Are you working or attending an approved training or educational program for 20 hours or more per week?
  • Is your family already receiving services from either ACS or the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA)?

There are also income guidelines your family must meet to be eligible. With a few questions, we can help you find out if you may be eligible.

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

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

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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

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For the household, any one document:

  • ID card with address
  • Driver license issued within past 6 months
  • Current letter/lease/rent receipt with home address from landlord
  • Postmarked envelope, postcard, or magazine label with name and date (cannot use if sent to a P.O. Box)
  • Correspondence from a government agency which contains name and street address (not a P.O. Box)
  • Utility bill (gas, electric, or water)

Proof of your income

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For each income source of each income earner, any one document:

Wages & Salary

  • Letter from employer on company letterhead, signed and dated (this document is acceptable only if you do not have the other types of documents)
  • Paycheck stubs (from the last four weeks in a row that you worked, if your pay is the same each week. If your pay is not always the same, bring pay stubs from the last 12 weeks in a row.)

Self-employment

  • Records of earnings and expenses
  • Signed and dated income tax return and all schedules

Income from Rent or Room and Board

  • Check stub
  • Ledger or rent receipt book
  • Letter from roomer, boarder, or tenant

Military Pay

  • Current award letter
  • Current check stub

Child Support or Alimony

  • Letter from court

Unemployment Income

  • Award letter or certificate
  • Bank statement showing the direct deposits
  • Copy of the direct payment debit card
  • Correspondence from NYS Department of Labor
  • Unemployment Insurance Monetary Benefit Determination

Social Security Benefits (SSI, Dependent, Disability, Survivor’s, or Retirement)

  • Correspondence from Social Security Administration
  • Current award letter or certificate
  • Current benefit check

Veteran’s Benefits

  • Correspondence from Veterans Administration
  • Current award letter
  • Current benefit check stub

Worker’s Compensation

  • Current award letter
  • Current check stub

Pensions, Annuities, or IRA

  • Statement from pension or annuity

Interest, dividends, or royalties

  • Statement from bank, credit union, or financial institution

Support from Family, Gifts, Inheritance, or Lottery

  • Copies of canceled checks from family member
  • Signed statement or letter from family member

Proof of citizenship/immigration status

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For each person applying, any one document:

  • Green card (copy of the front and back)
  • Arrival-Departure Record Card: INS form I-94
  • Letter from US Citizenship and Immigration (CIS) (formerly INS) showing status and, if necessary, date of entry into the US
  • Other INS documents, or correspondence to or from the INS, that shows that you are living in the US with the knowledge and permission of the INS

Note: As long as the child has legal status, the child is eligible for care regardless of the parent(s)’ legal status.

Next section:

4. How to Apply

4. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply in person

  1. Use the EarlyLearn NYC program finder and choose a provider.
  2. Download the application, visit the program of your choice to pick one up, or call 311 and request one be mailed to you.
  3. Complete the application and submit it with required the documents to the EarlyLearn NYC Child Care program site of your choice.
  4. If your child is approved for a seat in an EarlyLearn NYC center, ACS and the program will contact you about when your child can start attending. If your child is eligible, but the program has no vacancies, you may be placed on a waiting list.
  5. If you are receiving benefits from the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and would like to enroll in an EarlyLearn NYC program, visit your assigned Job Center.

Find a program

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

Visit the EarlyLearn NYC Child Care website for more information.

Call 311

Ask for EarlyLearn Child Care if you need help finding a program.

Visit a center

Visit an EarlyLearn center near you for help in person.

Updated December 20, 2017