EarlyLearn NYC

Preschool children and their teacher build with blocks in their classroom.

Infant and Toddler Programs

New York City provides a number of free or low-cost infant and toddler programs for families that qualify. These programs provide early care and education for children from birth to two years old, all year round for up to ten hours a day. Eligibility is based on your family's income, size, and needs. If you qualify and there is a seat available, your child can gain a program anytime during the year.

Child Care

EarlyLearn NYC Child Care programs provide early care and education services for up to 10 hours a day. These programs are available in two settings:

  • Center-based care for children aged six weeks to four years old.
  • Home-based care for children aged six weeks to three years old through family child care networks.

Early Head Start

EarlyLearn NYC Early Head Start programs provide early care and education that supports the whole family. Early Head Start programs serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers. Head Start programs provide services for at least eight hours a day.

Who is Eligible?

Our infant and toddler programs are available for families that qualify for free or low-cost care. Eligibility is based on your family's income, size, and needs.

Child Care

Your family may qualify for Child Care if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • You are enrolling a child with an active Child Welfare case, preventive and/or protective
  • You receive public assistance and are compliant with HRA's work activities
  • Your family's income falls below a certain amount and have an approved "reason for care" :
    • You work 20+ hours per week
    • You are in an educational or vocational training program
    • You have been looking for work for up to 6 months
    • You live in temporary housing
    • You are attending services for domestic violence.

Early Head Start

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Early Head Start is to contact a program directly. Your family may qualify for Early Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

How to Apply

Admissions for our infant and toddler programs are year-round. Your child can enroll in a program any time, if you are eligible and there is a seat available.

Special Referrals

There are a few instances where a different process is needed to apply:

  • Families applying for or receiving cash assistance must apply for care at their Human Resources Administration (HRA) Job Center.
  • Families with an active Child Welfare case, preventive and/or protective, must contact their case worker to make a Child Care subsidy referral.
  • Employed foster parents must contact their case worker to make a Child Care subsidy referral.

All families, including families that may need one of these referrals, can contact a Family Welcome Center, ACS Resources Area, or call 311 to get help with finding a program and completing the Child Care subsidy application.

Questions About Our Infant and Toddler Programs?

Call 311 or visit a Family Welcome Center or an ACS Resource Area . We can answer your questions about early childhood care and education and help you explore your options.

Options for Three- and Four-Year-Olds

Interested in other free, full-day, high-quality programs for children who are three and four years old? If your child was born in 2016, you can apply for 3-K. If your child was born in 2015, you can apply for pre-K. Visit MySchools to learn more about different programs.

Learn when and how to apply:

  • Call Us

    Call Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 718-935-2009.

  • Visit Us

    Get help in person at a Family Welcome Center.

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