Child Care Services in Central New York: What You Need to Know

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) provides a range of resources to help parents with their child care needs. There are many types of child care programs available in the state, all of which strive to create a safe, warm, and pleasant environment for children to learn and grow. When selecting a program, parents should take into account their own needs and those of their child. One option is family day care centers, where providers look after small groups of children in a residential building.

These centers may offer non-traditional schedules. It is important to check with the local child care resource and referral agency to see if the family child care home is required to meet certain health and safety requirements. Family child care homes can be classified as large or small, depending on the number of children under guardianship. Some child care centers are non-profit, while others are for-profit and may be owned by an individual or a chain. Preschool programs are typically offered for children aged 3 to 5, and can be found through schools, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, and child care centers. Some family child care providers and child care centers also offer care for school-age children.

Other programs such as parks and recreation departments, community programs, and churches may also provide this type of care. The OCFS funds Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCRR) to help parents find quality child care services. Parents can also use NYC Child Care Connect or the state Office of Children and Family Services page to learn about any past issues at a center. The OCFS also provides a toll-free hotline for child care complaints throughout the state at 1-800-732-5207. For more information on how to select quality child care, parents can call 1-800-345-KIDS to request a copy of the How You Think About Child Care brochure. This booklet will help parents ask the right questions when considering daycare for their children.

It includes information about different types of daycare centers authorized in New York State, various educational philosophies, questions to ask potential providers, and a checklist to take when visiting the facility. Non-medical care and supervision are provided to school-age children in a group setting for periods of less than 24 hours. All licensed child care programs must be inspected at least once before each license renewal. The OCFS can also help parents find financial assistance to pay for these services.