Child care for infants & toddlers

EarlyLearn | NYC Department of Education

Child Care Baby Toddler

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, some programs are limiting services or offering them remotely. For the most up-to-date information, please contact programs directly using the information below. To learn more about support for COVID-19 impacts, visit our Coronavirus Updates page

EarlyLearn is free or low-cost child care and education for children six weeks to two years old. There are hundreds of home-based and center-based programs across NYC offering services in safe and positive learning environments.

  • EarlyLearn is available for families who qualify for free or low-cost care.
  • Children can play, discover, and build positive relationships.
  • Eligibility is based on your family's income, size, and needs.
  • Families who do not get Cash Assistance or are not in foster care or homeless will need to pay a family share based on income.
  • Services are available for children with disabilities.
  • Early Head Start programs, also under EarlyLearn, serve pregnant mothers, and Infants and Toddler Extended Day/Year Programs. These programs provide services for at least eight hours a day all year round.

Who is eligible

EarlyLearn programs, including Early Head Start, have income and other eligibility requirements. If you qualify, your child can begin a program any time during the year.


What you need to apply

To apply for EarlyLearn, you will need to prove the following:

  • Where you live: such as a driver’s license, IDNYC, or utility bill
  • Your income (reason for care documents):
    • If employed: pay stubs and/or CS 1069
    • If self-employed: current income tax documents, notarized statement/accountant statement
    • If attending educational or vocational training: ACD 1082
    • If receiving SSI, Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment Benefits, etc.: proof of income documentation
  • Your citizenship or immigration status: US birth certificate (for children under 18 who live with you), Registration Card (if the child was not born in the US)

How to apply

In person:

  1. Use MySchools: Choose the “EarlyLearn” and “Family Child Care” filters in the drop-down menu
  2. Type in your home address to find programs near you
  3. Download the application, visit a program of your choice to pick one up, or call 311 to request one in the mail
  4. Complete the application and submit it with required the documents to the EarlyLearn program of your choice

Apply at your assigned HRA Job Center if you already get HRA benefits and want to enroll in an EarlyLearn NYC program.

By mail:

  1. Download the application or visit a program of your choice to pick one up, or call 311 to request one in the mail.
  2. Mail applications:
    NYC DOE – Office of Student Enrollment,
    PO BOX 377
    Maplewood, NJ 07040

By email:

Scan completed applications and email to earlylearn@schools.nyc.gov


How to get help

Other Child Care Programs

Head Start

NYC Department of Education

Head start for 3 & 4 year olds

Early care and education for three- and four-year-olds and their families.

Living for the Young Family Through Education (LYFE)

NYC Department of Education/District 79

Early childhood education and support services

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

FirstStepNYC

NYC Department of Education

Child care in Brooklyn

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

Updated April 19, 2021