The Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) is the agency that regulates child care programs in New York State. In order to obtain a license or registration for a child care program, providers must meet minimum health, safety, nutrition, and training standards. Child care providers working in a licensed/registered program are required to complete background checks, and if the child care program is held in someone’s home, all of the household members over 18 must complete the background check too. All programs (including those held in someone’s home) are inspected by the state before opening, and periodically inspected throughout the time their license/registration is valid to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of your child.
The following types of programs can serve children ages six weeks through twelve years and require a current license or registration from the state:
Family Day Care Homes: These are smaller programs that are held in someone's home. Family Day Care providers may care for three to six children at a time, may add one to two school-children – the maximum allowable number of children ultimately depends on their ages.
Group Family Day Care Homes: These programs are also held someone's home but allow slightly larger numbers of children to be cared for at one time. A Group Family Day Care provider, with an approved assistant present, can care for seven to twelve children at a time, may add one or two school-children – the maximum allowable number of children ultimately depends on their ages.
Day Care Centers: These are programs caring for more than six children at time, held not in a personal residence. These programs are typically larger than those held in personal residences, with multiple staff members caring for a number of different groups of children.
School-Age Child Care Programs: These programs provide care for more than six children from kindergarten through age twelve, during non-school hours as well as during school vacation periods and holidays.