Head start for 3 & 4 year olds

EarlyLearn NYC Head Start | NYC Department of Education

Child Care Toddler Pre-Schooler

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

Am I eligible?

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.

What will I need to apply?

To enroll your child in a program, you will need to prove the following:

  • Your child’s age
  • Your income, which can include a TANF or SSI benefit letter

I'm ready to apply

  • Use MySchools to find programs before applying. Choose the “EarlyLearn” filter in the drop-down menu, then type in your home address to find programs near you.
  • If you already get HRA benefits and want to enroll in an EarlyLearn NYC program, visit your assigned Job Center.
  • Call programs directly to learn about their availability and requirements.

How can I get help?

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, Family Welcome Center buildings are temporarily closed, but staff members are working remotely to support families. You can email your questions about enrollment, offer information, waitlists, and more to:

Staff are aiming to respond to all email requests within 48 hours by email.

Other Child Care Programs

Child care for babies & toddlers

EarlyLearn NYC Child Care

NYC Department of Education

Early child care and education services for up to 10 hours a day

Early childhood education and support services

Living for the Young Family Through Education (LYFE)

NYC Department of Education/District 79

Student parents can get free early childhood education for their children ages 6 weeks to 4 years.

Child care in Brooklyn


NYC Department of Education

Daycare for young children in Brooklyn and help for their families.

Updated March 20, 2020