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 as well. All programs (including those held in someone’s home) are inspected by the state before they can open, and periodically inspected throughout the time their license/registration is valid to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of children.
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 small in-home programs. Family Day Care providers may care for three to six children at a time, can add one to two school-children with the maximum allowable number of children depending on ages in care.
Group Family Day Care Homes: These programs are in-home care provided in someone's home but allow for slightly larger numbers of children to be cared for. A Group Family Day Care provider has an approved assistant present, can care for seven to twelve children at a time, can add one or two school-children with the maximum allowable number of children depending on ages in care.
Day Care Centers: These programs care for more than six children at a time, not held in a personal home but in a building. 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 care for more than six children from kindergarten through age twelve, during non-school hours as well as during school vacation periods and holidays.