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Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant for New Providers | Division of Child Care Services

Scam Alert

OCFS has become aware of a potential scam attempt being committed against child care providers. There is an individual(s) who has called programs and represents themselves as an OCFS employee and is asking for a verification code to access your grant homepage. OCFS will never contact you to ask for this code and reminds you to never share sensitive or confidential information with people you are not familiar with. OCFS is committed to assisting you in protecting your information, if you have questions or would like to report suspicious activity, please contact your local CCR&R or Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320. You can get more information and report fraud directly at: ocfs.ny.gov/main/contracts/funding/report-fraud.php.

Please note: OCFS has announced the award recipients for the Invest in New York: Child Care Deserts RFA 1 Grant for New Providers. Applicants should have received an email informing them of their application status. We thank you for your patience as there was a large amount of interest in the funding opportunity.

If you have questions on your award status, please reach out to your CCR&R. If you would like to view your existing application, you can do so here:

Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320

Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Program Overview

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.

Important Dates

  • Invest in NY Child Care awards were announced on July 25, 2022.
  • Payments will be made 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 program.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will awards be announced?

Awards for the Invest in NY Child Care Deserts grant for new providers were announced on July 25, 2022 via email to the grant applicants.

How many providers applied for the grants and how many were awarded?

Over 1,700 providers applied for the grant and 344 providers were awarded statewide.

Why was I not funded?

  • Unfortunately, OCFS was not able to award grants to everyone who applied. Awards were distributed across New York State to providers seeking to open programs, based on the score that applicants received when completing their grant application, until all funds were exhausted.

Where can I go if I have questions?

  • Please reach out to your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) on the licensing or registration process. If you are unsure of your CCR&R you can reach out to the Child Care Deserts hotline at 1-844-863-9320 and they can assist you in finding this information.

Have more questions?

The complete FAQ is also available in other languages.

Kreyòl Ayisyen


Resources for Navigating the Application Portal

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 Español

Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video: Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video Español

(Supporting data used to create the Child Care Deserts map.)

Link to REDC Child Care Deserts application
REDC 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 investnychildcare@ocfs.ny.gov. Questions will be answered on a rolling basis.

Additional Information

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.

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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.

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