As outlined in the Request for Applications, the application for the Desert Grant RFA 1 officially closed at 11:59pm on May 19,2022. Please continue to communicate with your regulator regarding your licensing and program development process. Also, please refer to ocfs.ny.gov/main/contracts/funding/ for future grant opportunities offered by New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
If you would like to view your existing application, you can do so here:
Please note: This grant opportunity is for providers who were not licensed prior to January 28, 2022. OCFS has released a second grant opportunity for existing licensed providers looking to expand capacity. For more information on that opportunity, see the Grant for Existing Providers page.
Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
New York State identified $100M to build and expand child care capacity in areas with the least supply. Utilizing funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), child care desert funding represents an unprecedented opportunity and investment to build capacity and strengthen the state’s economy, by addressing the issues that impact businesses including chronic absence, productivity reductions and turnover due to inadequate options for quality child care in the most needed parts of the state.
Child Care Desert Definition
The standard definition of a child care desert involves not having enough licensed/registered child day care slots to adequately serve the number of children in a geographic area. For this funding opportunity, the geographic area used to measure population is a census tract. An area is identified as a child care “desert” if there are three or more children under the age of five per available child care slot in local day care centers, family day care, or group family day care programs.
OCFS and the Council on Children and Families (CCF) have created an online mapping tool illustrating the locations of New York State’s child care deserts, which are the areas eligible for funding under the request for applications (RFA). To view the detailed REDC Child Care Deserts map visit bit.ly/cc_deserts.
- The application portal closed on May 19, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. You can view your existing application by clicking here: View My Application
- Invest in NY Child Care awards will be announced on or around June 30, 2022.
- The end date for these awards is no later than June 30, 2024.
- Final contracts will be issued once the program’s license/registration is completed.
General Requirements of RFA1 for New Providers
All interested parties must complete the OCFS Child Day Care Orientation before applying for the Invest in NY Child Care Grant for New Providers. After completing the Orientation, applicants can request a licensing application.
Programs applying to become an NYC DOHMH Article 47 day care center, must attend a pre-permit orientation (check the box next to “Group Child Care and Summer Camp Orientation Sessions”, then click “Continue” at the bottom of the page) before applying for a new permit. After you have attended that orientation, you can apply for a permit for a new child care program.
All awarded programs will be expected to enroll and participate in the QUALITYStarsNY Start with Stars program.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are child care deserts?
Child care deserts are areas of the state that do not have enough licensed/registered child day care slots to adequately serve the number of children in the geographic area.
- When will the application portal open?
The application portal is now open for new providers who have completed their orientation, have received their facility ID, and are ready to apply! Apply to the Grant Program.
- I tried to start my application, but I have questions. Where can I get more information on navigating the grant application portal?
- I run a program that was licensed in December 2021. Can I still apply for this grant?
- The Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant for New Providers (RFA1) is for programs who were not licensed prior to January 28, 2022. Providers who were licensed before January 28, 2022 and are looking to expand capacity under their existing license may be eligible to apply for the Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant for Existing Providers (RFA2). For more information on this opportunity, see the Grant for Existing Providers page.
- Have more questions?
- The complete FAQ is also available in other languages.
Kreyòl Ayisyen •
Find Child Care Deserts in NY
To view the detailed REDC Child Care Deserts map you can select the map below or visit bit.ly/cc_deserts.
Child Care Deserts Map Instructions: Child Care Deserts Map Instructions English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructions Spanish / Español
Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video: Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video Spanish / Español
(Supporting data used to create the Child Care Deserts map.)
Find Child Care Priorities in your Region
Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) collaborated with their REDC and other stakeholders to compile the child care priorities for their region. Potential applicants should review the priorities for their region to learn more about the needs of parents and families.
Resources for Understanding the Child Care Deserts Program
All questions regarding the Child Care Deserts Program RFA1 for New Providers must be submitted to the RFA email box at investnychild[email protected]. Questions will be answered on a rolling basis.
Resources for Opening a Child Care Center
If you are new to child care and looking to open a facility for the first time the following resources are provided to assist you with this process.
For more information on the training needed to become licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training site. You can also check out Orientation Sessions in your area on how to open a child care program
Technical Assistance and Support
Child Care Resource and Referral agencies are key partners in assisting with the child care provider licensing process. Statewide, there are 35 CCR&Rs covering every county. To find out who your CCR&R is, check the OCFS Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies directory.
For more information on becoming a New York City permitted Article 47 child care center, visit the NYC Group Child Care (Center-based) — Information for Operators site.
For more information on the training need to become licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training site.
The following graphics are available to promote the Child Care Deserts opportunity.
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- Contact us by phone:
Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320
M-F: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.