Other Forms of Child Care

If a licensed or registered child care program is not the right fit for your family, there are other options for child care in New York.  Child Care Solutions only provides referrals to regulated child care programs, but we are here to help answer your questions about these other options!  Families can call (315) 446-1220 ext. 303 to talk to a Parent Services expert, or stop in one of our offices and get assistance in person.

Nursery Schools:  These are programs that provide care for three hours or less a day in a variety of settings including public & private schools, churches, community centers & homes.  They typically follow the school calendar year.  Nursery schools are not regulated by OCFS but may choose to voluntarily register with the State Education Department (SED).


Pre-Kindergartens:  These are usually located in public schools, but can also be found in private schools or day care centers.  Pre-Kindergartens are not regulated by OCFS; instead they are supervised by the State Education Department (SED).


Head Start & Early Head Start Programs:  These federally funded programs are offered to eligible families at no cost.  Early Head Start programs may care for children birth through three, while Head Start programs are for children age three through five.  Both of these programs link families and children to community resources and support. These programs are usually licensed as Day Care Centers.  To see your family eligibility and apply CLICK HERE.

Enrolled Legally Exempt Provider (Child Care Subsidy Program):  Families receiving assistance from the county to help pay child care (AKA: child care subsidy) may choose to have a family member or friend provide care at their own home or in the child’s home.  In order for the family member or friend to receive the child care subsidy payments from the county, they must be enrolled through the county as a Legally Exempt provider.  Legally Exempt providers do not have to apply for a license or registration from the state because the provider is either related to the children (** see footnote below) OR are only caring for two non-related children at a time.  In order to become enrolled, the parent/guardian receiving the assistance must request the Legally-Exempt Enrollment Packet from Onondaga County Day Care ServicesJobsPlus,  or  Cayuga County Day Care Services to be assigned a case worker.  The family and child care provider will complete the packet together, and submit the completed packet to Child Care Solutions.  Child Care Solutions works with Onondaga & Cayuga counties to process the paperwork and enroll Legally Exempt providers.

**Relatives within the third degree of consanguinity of the parent(s) or step-parent(s) of the child include: the grandparents of the child; the great-grand-parents of the child; the great-great-grandparents of the child; the aunts and uncles of the child, including the spouses of the aunts and uncles; the great-aunts-and great-uncles of the child, including the spouses of the great-aunts and great-uncles; the siblings of the child; and the first cousins of the child, including the spouses of the first cousins. (From Section 415.1(h)(1)(iii) of the NYS Day Care Regulations)

Note:  Child Care Solutions does not issue or authorize the child care subsidy payments.  If you have a question about your payment contact the Onondaga County Accounting Department: at (315) 435-2947.


Informal Care/Nanny:  Individuals in NYS can care for up to two non-relative children (in addition to their own) in their homes, without having to obtain a license or registration from the state.  Families may also choose to employ a private caregiver or nanny to provide care in the child’s home.  If you choose to employ a private caregiver or nanny, you are required to meet minimum wage, tax, and labor law requirements.  Nannies are not regulated by OCFS, and Child Care Solutions does not provide referrals to unregulated programs or for Nanny services.