Child care for infants and toddlers

EarlyLearn | NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Child Care Baby Toddler

EarlyLearn programs provide free or low-cost child care and education for children six weeks to two years old. There are hundreds of programs in New York City that offer safe and positive learning environments for children.

  • EarlyLearn has:
    • Infant and Toddler programs for children aged six weeks to two years. These take place in centers or homes for up to 10 hours a day.
    • Early Head Start programs for pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers. These provide services for at least eight hours a day.
  • If you qualify and there is a seat available, your child can begin a program anytime during the year.
    • Eligibility is based on your family's income, size, and needs.
    • Families will need to pay some of the cost if they do not get Cash Assistance, are not in foster care, or are not homeless.
  • Services are available for children with disabilities.

Who is eligible

For Early Head Start Programs

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Early Head Start is to contact a program directly. Your family may qualify for Early Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

For Infant/Toddler Programs Your family may qualify for these programs if your family’s income falls below a certain amount. You must also have at least one of these approved “reasons for care”:

  • You work 10+ hours per week
  • You are in an educational or vocational training program
  • You have been looking for work for up to 6 months
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are attending services for domestic violence

How to apply

  1. Find a program on MySchools.
    • Click “More Filters” and check any of the options under “EarlyLearn”.
    • Then, type in your home address to find a program near you.
  2. Get and complete an application:
  3. Submit your application with the required documents to the EarlyLearn program of your choice. You may also choose to:
    • Mail your application to:
      NYC DOE Family Welcome Center
      333 7th Ave
      12th floor
      New York NY 10001
    • Scan completed applications and email to earlylearn@schools.nyc.gov.

How to get help

  • Get more information about EarlyLearn from NYCDOE.
  • Call 311. Ask for “EarlyLearn” if you need help finding a program.

Other Child Care Programs

Child Care Voucher

NYC Administration for Children's Services (ACS)

Child care for eligible low-income families

Help to cover the cost of child care for children six weeks to thirteen years old.

NYS Paid Family Leave (PFL)

NYS Workers' Compensation Board (NYS WCB)

Paid time off to care for family

Up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child, sick family member, and other situations.

NYC Child Care Connect (NYC CCC)

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Find a licensed child care program

An online resource that helps you find and stay informed about a child care program in your community.

Updated June 9, 2022