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Child Care

Head start for 3 & 4 year olds

EarlyLearn NYC Head Start | NYC Department of Education

1. How it Works

EarlyLearn NYC Head Start programs provide early child care and education that supports the whole family. Families can get services for at least eight hours a day.

  • EarlyLearn NYC is available for families who qualify for free or low-cost care
  • Head Start programs are available in centers
  • Eligibility is based on your family’s income, size, and needs
  • Limited space is also available in Early Head Start programs, which serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers

2. Determine your eligibility

You may be eligible if you receive Cash Assistance and have an approved “reason for care.” Acceptable reasons for care include:

  • You are in a Human Resources Administration (HRA)-approved work, education, or training activity
  • You are looking for work and have an approved work search plan and proof of receipt of unemployment insurance
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care

You are automatically eligible if one or more of these categories applies to you:

  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • Your income falls below a certain amount

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Head Start is to contact a program directly.

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.

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.

If you are receiving Cash Assistance, you are automatically eligible for Head Start.

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

Next section:

4. How to Apply

4. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply in person

  • Use MySchools to find programs for three-year-olds. Choose the “EarlyLearn” filter in the drop-down menu, then type in your home address to find programs near you.
  • Visit an EarlyLearn center or Family Welcome Center near you for help in person.

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 Head Start website for more information.

Call 311

Ask for EarlyLearn Head Start if you need help finding a program.

Visit a center

Visit an EarlyLearn center or Family Welcome Center near you to get help in person.