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. While Child Care Solutions only provides referrals to regulated child care programs, 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 over the phone, or stop into 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 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 supports. These programs are usually licensed as Day Care Centers. Visit the Head Start/Early Head Start website for more information and to see your family eligiblity to apply. 

Enrolled Legally Exempt Provider (Child Care Subsidy Program): Families receiving assistance from the county to help pay for child care (also known as a 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 as a Legally Exempt provider. Legally Exempt means that the child care provider does not have to get a license or registration from the state because the provider is either related to the children** OR only caring for two non-related children at a time. In order to become enrolled, the family receiving assistance must request a Legally-Exempt Enrollment Packet from their worker at Onondaga County Day Care Services, JobsPlus,  or  Cayuga County Day Care Services. The family and child care provider 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..

Child Care Solutions does not issue or authorize the child care subsidy payments to legally exempt providers.  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 Nannies. 

**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)