Young Parents

Little girl in pink walks in NYC with two women

Being a young parent in the City can be stressful, but you don’t have to do it alone. Check out the resources below to get support with education, jobs, child care, finances, emotional well-being, and parenting skills. No matter what your goals are for you and your family, NYC can help you reach them.

Discover resources for parents & families

Growing Up NYC makes it simple for families to learn about and access City programs, information about services, and free or low-cost activities available across NYC.

Visit Growing Up NYC

Child Care

NYC can help support your child’s development with early child care and education. Find out your options for free and low-cost quality care in the City.

  • Living for the Young Family through Education (LYFE)Children between the ages of 8 weeks and 3 years can get free daycare if their parents are in school. LYFE also gives parents academic support.
  • EarlyLearn NYC Child CareChildren between 6 weeks and 4 years old can get free child care during the day, with games and education to prepare them for Pre-K.
  • Early Learn NYC Head StartHead Start provides eight hours a day of free early care and education for 3 and 4 year olds.
  • FirstStepNYCFirstStepNYC offers children 6 weeks to 4 years old free child care in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood. Each family in the program gets a  support specialist to work with.

Explore child care options

Though quality child care can be expensive, you may qualify for free or low-cost options. Use NYC Child Care Connect to find safe, reliable care in your neighborhood.  

Search Child Care Connect

Education

For You

Finishing High School
If you’ve taken a break from high school to focus on parenting, you can explore options for finishing high school that fit your life. Learn more about going back to school or working towards your high school equivalency (HSE) diploma.

  • District 79For students under 21 who have had an interruption in their high school studies, District 79 schools and programs help you stay on track towards graduation or an HSE diploma and beyond.
  • High School Equivalency (HSE) Prep: If you need help preparing for your HSE test, you may be able to take part in Pathways to Graduation. The program also prepares students for college or career options.
  • CUNY Fatherhood (CFA): Fathers ages 18 – 30 can get support in academics, employment, and personal development. CFA offers both a College Prep and HSE Prep track.

Learn more on the Finishing High School page

Going to College
There are many ways to get a college degree in NYC. To learn more about how to find the right school for you, applying to school, and paying for college, visit the following resources on Generation NYC:

Technical School
Students ages 17 – 21 working towards a high school or HSE diploma or who have graduated can get work-based learning at Coop Tech. The half-day program offers training in areas such as building trades, health careers, IT, and service industries.  

Learn more about Coop Tech and Career & Technical Education

For Your Child

With free options for quality education, NYC can help you give your family a strong foundation for learning and development.

  • 3-K for All: 3-K for All is free, full-day, high-quality education for New York City 3-year-olds, starting in select school districts across the City.
  • Pre-K for All: You can enroll your child in a free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K program.
  • Kindergarten & Elementary School: Learn about your options for enrolling your child in elementary school starting when they’re 5 years old.
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  • Employment

    Having a good job can mean financial stability and future opportunities, but what counts as a good job isn’t the same for everyone. You might want a part-time job so you can also care for your child, a full-time job with paid family leave or health insurance, or an internship with training, among other options.

    Whatever a good job means to you, NYC can help you find it. See the resources below to find out how you can apply for and better understand employment.

    Apply for Work
    You can apply for one or more of these programs in NYC that connect youth and parents to paid jobs and internships:

    • Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP): Paid summer work for up to six weeks. If you’re between 14 and 24, you’re eligible. You can apply between February and March.
    • Advance & Earn: A program for youth to increase reading and math skills to take high school equivalency tests and get job training, certifications, and paid internships.
    • Ladders for Leaders: Paid summer internships for high school and college students ages 16 – 22 with previous work experience. If you qualify, you’ll be working at a top NYC corporation, non-profit, or government agency.
    • Learn & Earn (formerly the In-School Youth Program): Helps high school juniors and seniors graduate and prepare for jobs or college. Services include academic support, career exploration, work readiness activities, and paid summer internships.
    • Train & Earn (formerly the Out-of-School Youth Program): Skills training in growing industries for 16 to 24 year olds who aren’t working or in school. Train & Earn also offers HSE prep, career exploration, and counseling.
    • Jobs Plus: If you’re a NYCHA resident, this employment program helps you get work and increase your earnings.
    • Families Forward: Free job training and other supports, including  help finding a job, for non-custodial parents who owe child support.
    • No Kidding: Straight Talk from Teen Parents: Become a peer educator and teach teens and young adults about parenting, child support, paternity, and understanding healthy relationships. 
    • NYC Small Business Services: New Yorkers can get help with developing job search skills, training, and searching for open jobs. 

    Note: Each program has its own application process, so it’s important to pay attention to deadlines and what it takes to apply on each program page.

    Find out more about employment

    To find out more about what you’ll need to do to apply for jobs, how to choose the right kind of work, and more, visit the Employment topic page on Generation NYC.

    Learn more about jobs

    Health & Emotional Support

    Your Health

    To take care of your child’s health, you should also focus on taking care of your own! NYC has many free and confidential resources to help you take control of your health care.

    NYC YouthHealth
    Run by NYC Health + Hospitals, the City’s public hospital system, NYC YouthHealth provides health care for youth 12 and up, regardless of ability to pay, immigration status, or sexual orientation. Staff members are trained to provide respectful and sensitive care to everyone. Services include:

    • Sexual and reproductive health
    • Primary care
    • Mental health and depression help
    • Healthy weight management
    • And more

    Find an NYC YouthHealth Center near you

    Doctors and Insurance
    To learn more about options for health care, information about  health insurance, and other health topics, visit the Doctors & Insurance topic page on Generation NYC.

    Your Child’s Health

    Find out your choices for free or low-cost health care to help support your child’s healthy growth.

    Healthy Relationships

    In a healthy relationship with your partner, both people respect and support each other. Not every relationship is healthy, and domestic violence can take many forms. These can include:

    • physical violence
    • verbal abuse
    • forced sex
    • threats against you or loved ones

    If you or someone close to you is experiencing things with a partner, help is available.

    Find someone to talk to

    While you’re busy with your little one, don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you need help caring for your mental health, you can find resources throughout NYC.

    • NYC Well: Free and private talk, text, or chat mental health services available all day for you or someone you care about.
    • YouthHealth Clinics: Anyone under 18 years old can get free and confidential support at YouthHealth Clinics around the City.
    Learn more about mental health

    Financial Help

    There’s no question: Having a child adds extra stress on finances. But you shouldn’t have to deal with that alone.  

    From City benefits that help with money and food to child support services and financial counseling, you can find support in NYC to make you feel more in control of your family’s financial future.

    Child Support

    Custodial Parents
    To apply for child support services, any mother, father, or guardian who cares for a child can go to the Family Court in their borough and meet with a child support worker, regardless of income or immigration status.

    Parents applying for or receiving Cash Assistance must comply with the Child Support program, and they are automatically referred for services to the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). All custodial parents receives the same level of services, which include:

    • Locating the other parent
    • Establishing legal fatherhood (paternity)
    • Establishing child support and medical support orders
    • Collecting and distributing support payments
    • Enforcing child support orders

    Learn more about child support services for custodial parents

    Non-custodial Parents
    To get help with child support services in person, non-custodial parents can:

    Services include:

    • Lowering or even eliminating child support debt owed to the government
    • Changing an existing child support order
    • Getting a hardship review to make sure the amount deducted from your paycheck is manageable
    • Finding a job
    • Paying current or past-due child support using a credit card
    • Reinstating a suspended driver’s licenses or professional licenses

    Learn more about child support services for non-custodial parents

    Benefits & Programs

    • WIC: WIC provides free healthy food and services to low-income women and children. Services include nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, health education, and referrals.
    • Cash Assistance: Your family can get cash if you are in need. The funds come on a debit card that you can use at any ATM or store where EBT cards are accepted.
    • SNAP: Sometimes called “food stamps,” SNAP benefits help pay for groceries. They come on a debit card that you can use at many grocery stores and farmers markets.
    • Child Tax Credit (CTC): Parents with qualifying children under the age of 17 can lessen their federal income tax by up to $1,000.

    To find out what other benefits you might be eligible for, visit ACCESS NYC.

    See more information about public assistance eligibility for New Yorkers ages 16 – 20.

    Learn more about managing your money

    Having a kid in NYC can be costly, but there are steps you can take and resources you can use to help you feel more in control of your family’s finances. To find out more about these, check out the following topic pages on Generation NYC:

    • Banking & Credit: An introduction to banking and credit basics, credit cards, and your credit score
    • Budgeting: How to create and live within a budget, resources for financial advice, and how to budget while in school

    Parenting Skills

    Parents of Newborns

    Your baby is new to the world and you’re new to being a parent. If you could use some extra tips to help with the changes, the City offers services to support parents and their newborns.

    • Newborn Home Visiting Program: New moms can get home visits from health professional to help with breastfeeding, health and safety tips, and connections to community resources.
    • Sleep Safe Initiative: Families can get information on creating a safe sleep environment for your baby and might qualify for a free crib.

    Parents of Children with Disabilities

    If your child has a disability or developmental delay, NYC has resources to help your family meet those needs.

    Fathers

    If you’re a young dad in NYC, you have options for getting support with parenting and personal development.  

    • CUNY Fatherhood Academy: Fathers ages 18 – 30 can get support with academics, employment, and personal development. CFA offers both a College Prep and HSE Prep track.
    • Fatherhood Initiative: The Fatherhood Initiative helps young dads who do not live with their children learn about parenting. Fathers ages 16 – 24 can get up to six months of case management and follow-up services for up to a year.

    Parents in Foster Care

    Parents in foster care have the same rights as any other parent to make decisions about their children. While you’re in foster care, your case planner can work with you to refer you to useful resources to help support you with parenting.

    In addition to service referrals, the City must also provide financial support, including:

    • Clothing and diaper allowance for your child
    • Medicaid for you and your child
    • Child care
    • Any special furniture or equipment needed (including, but not limited to cribs, strollers, high chairs and car seats)

    Parents Experiencing Homelessness

    If you’re looking for a safe place for you and your child or want help in working towards a more stable situation, you can find resources throughout the City.

    The Covenant House Mother/Child program
    In addition to a hot meal, a shower, and a warm bed, the Covenant House Mother/Child program offers parenting skills workshops, counseling, and child care to homeless mothers.

    To learn more about options for youth facing housing uncertainty, visit the Youth Experiencing Homelessness page on Generation NYC.