Parent Resources

Parenting is the toughest job in the world so it is important to remember that great parents are made, not born.  That’s why all parents can benefit from information, support, and education.  Below are resources available to parents and families to help you raise healthy, happy, safe, and productive children.

New York State Parent Guide:  What new parent hasn't wished that a baby came with an instruction manual?  While the New York State Council on Children and Families' new Parent Guide is not exactly an owner's manual, it's a close second.  The Parent Guide -- Starting Life Together: Your Guide for Building a Nurturing, Healthy Relationship with Your Child -- offers key parenting tips, before and after your child arrives, up to age five. The Parenting Guide focuses on five key parenting behaviors: nurturing, protecting, guiding, communicating, and supporting children's curiosity and learning.  Expectant mothers can access important advice on exercise, nutrition, and other healthy habits during pregnancy.  Parents will find information on typical behavior for the age of their child and fun ways to encourage their child's healthy development.  Included are valuable resources on safe sleep, use of car seats, breastfeeding, and dental care, among others.

CDC's "Learn the Signs - Act Early":  This program from the CDC has resources that can help parents and providers identify developmental milestones in children, like the "Milestones in Action" image library or the new "Milestone Tracker" app.  Both of these free resources are designed to help parents and providers identify developmental milestones in children from 2 months to 5 years of age and recognize when there may be cause for concern.  Visit the CDC's website to learn more.

Help Me Grow Onondaga:  This program is a resource for parents and caregivers designed to provide support by connecting them to community resources and services, educating families and the community about how children develop, and completing developmental screenings for children aged birth through five.  Visit their website to learn more.

Need help paying for child care?

Child Care is expensive; luckily, there are many resources available for parents to help pay for child care.  Some programs, help you save money or provide a discount on your child care fees and other programs will pay a portion of your child care each month.  Use the title link to learn more about the programs available.

Government Funded Assistance Programs

Onondaga and Cayuga County offer many public assistance programs for citizens.  You can now get connected to these programs and many others by calling 211!  Instead of calling dozens of phone numbers, then struggling through a maze of agencies and services to make the right connections call 211 and speak with an information and referral specialist 24/7.  You can also learn more about the following programs by visiting their websites.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation's most important anti-hunger program.  Last year, it helped more than 45 million low-income Americans afford to purchase healthier food. For more information visit:

Onondaga County SNAP

Cayuga County SNAP

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded energy assistance program to help low-income families meet their home energy costs. The HEAP program consists of three components – Regular HEAP, Emergency HEAP and Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement. If you are in need of assistance please visit:

Onondaga County HEAP

Cayuga County HEAP

Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) offers temporary help for needy men, women and children while they work towards self-sufficiency. If you are unable to work, can't find a job, or your job does not pay enough to meet your basic living needs, TA may be able to help you with basic expenses such as heat, rent, etc.  For more information visit:

Onondaga County Temporary Assistance

Cayuga County Temporary Assistance

Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC):  provides checks every month to buy healthy WIC foods and provides ideas on preparing healthy meals for families.  For more information visit:

Onondaga County WIC

Cayuga County WIC

Medicaid and Child Health Plus:  Medicaid is a program for New Yorkers who can't afford to pay for medical care.  In addition New York State has a health insurance plan for kids, called Child Health Plus.  Depending on your family's income, your child may be eligible to join.  You may determine if you qualify for health care coverage from Medicaid or Child Health Plus through the NYS Health Care Marketplace.  For more information call (855) 355-5777 or TTY at (800) 662-1220 or visit:  NYS of Health

Workfroce Development Institute's Child Care Subsidy:  Funds available for income-eligible families who reside in Onondaga County and work a minimum of 25 hours per week.  The subsidy can be applied to licensed, registered or legally exempt day care, after school or summer camp programs.  Learn more.

Child Development And Education Programs

In Onondaga and Cayuga Counties there are many organizations and non-profits that support child development and education. You can also learn more about the following programs by visiting their websites.

ABC Cayuga: ABC Cayuga fosters understanding and action around early childhood development and learning in Cayuga County. Studies conclusively show that investing in early childhood has tremendous benefits for a community: more vibrant economies, lower crime rates and higher standards of living. As such, we seek to engage parents, grandparents, teachers, caregivers and anyone else who impacts the lives of children — in other words, YOU! -- to make Cayuga County the best possible place to be a child.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library: This program is available in both Onondaga and Cayuga Counties. Imagination Library is a free, early literacy program that delivers to children age birth to five a new, age-appropriate book in the mail each month. Imagination Library promotes love of reading and learning.

Huntington Family Center: Huntington Family Center provides diverse, year-round programming designed to strengthen individuals and families in a safe, caring environment. Huntington helps each individual to develop and grow to their fullest potential through three areas of programming: Youth Development, Family Development and Adult Development.

Lullaby League (Catholic Charities): A four-week infant care class for pregnant women, partners, and families.  Case management and counseling is offered to all birth parents and their families.  Following the birth of the baby, new parents meet with the case manager in the home setting and can receive individual counseling as requested.

The Children's Consortium: The Children’s Consortium provides programs and services for family literacy, parenting and early childhood education, and family engagement.

Other Resources

Children Can't Wait a ready for kindergarten, ready for college campaign.

Families & Work Institute: Families and Work Institute is a nonprofit center dedicated to providing research for living in today’s changing workplace, changing family and changing community.

Healthy Here, you'll find information regarding the American Academy of Pediatrics many programs and activities, their policies and guidelines, their publications and other child health resources, as well as much, much more. Best of all, you can rest assured that the information comes from the nation's leading child health experts and that they have scientific research supporting their recommendations

Mind In The Making: developed by Families and Work Institute (FWI), is an unprecedented effort to share the science of children’s learning with the general public, families and professionals who work with children and families.

Vroom: Vroom was developed by a group of dedicated scientists, community leaders and trusted brands, with input from community organizations and families like yours. Together, they're providing parents and caregivers with ways to boost early learning.

Navigating the Child Care Selection Process and Paying for Care: This is a video recording by Lori Schakow, the Executive Director from Child Care Solutions and Sarah Merrick, the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Social Services, about how to navigate your way through the child care selection process and give you tools on how to make the process smooth, as well as giving you information about paying for child care.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Visit this website to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences and how they can affect childrens learning and development abilities. 

CAP Protective Factors Calendar April: Click here for the April Child Abuse Prevention Calendar for strategies to strengthen families.