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

Please take note: OCFS has announced the grant 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 great interest in the funding opportunity

If you have questions about your grant status, please contact your CCR&R. If you want to view your existing application, you can do so here:

Please take note: This grant opportunity is for providers not licensed before 28 January 2022. OCFS has released a second grant opportunity for existing licensed providers looking to expand their capacity. For more information about that opportunity, see the Grant for Existing Providers page.

Childcare Deserts Helpline: 844-863-9320

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

Program Overview

New York State has identified $100 million to build and expand child care capacity in underserved areas. Using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), child care wilderness funding represents an unprecedented opportunity and investment to build capacity and strengthen the state’s economy by addressing the issues that affect businesses, including chronic absenteeism, productivity reduction and turnover due to insufficient options for quality child care in the most needy parts of the state.

Child Care Desert Definition

The standard definition of a childcare desert involves not having enough licensed/registered childcare 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 that illustrates 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

Important dates

  • Invest in NY Childcare awards were announced on July 25, 2022.
  • Payments will be made no later than 30 June 2024.
  • Final contracts will be issued once the program’s license/registration is complete.

General requirements of RFA1 for new suppliers

All interested parties must complete the OCFS Child Day Care Orientation before apply for the Invest in NY Child Care Grant for New Providers. After completing the Orientation, applicants can request a license application.

Programs applying to become a NYC DOHMH Section 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 do for a new permit. After you attend that orientation, you can apply for a permit for a new child care program.

All awarded programs will be required 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 by email to grant applicants on July 25, 2022.

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

More than 1,700 suppliers applied for the grant and 344 suppliers were awarded nationwide.

Why am I not funded?

  • Unfortunately, OCFS was unable to award grants to all who applied. Grants were distributed across New York State to providers seeking to open programs, based on the score applicants received when they completed their grant application, until all funds were exhausted.

Where can I go if I have questions?

  • Please contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) about the licensing or registration process. If you are unsure about your CCR&R, you can contact the Child Care Deserts hotline at 1-844-863-9320 and they can help you find this information.

Do you have more questions?

The complete FAQ is also available in other languages.

Haitian Creole

Resources for navigating the application portal

Find Childcare Deserts in NY

To view the detailed REDC Child Care Deserts map, you can select the map below or visit

Childcare desert card instructions: Childcare deserts Map Instructions English | Childcare 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 Childcare Deserts map.)

Link to REDC Child Care Deserts application
REDC Child Care Deserts Map

Find childcare priorities in your region

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) worked 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 Desert Program

All questions regarding the Child Care Desert Program RFA1 for new providers should be submitted to the RFA email box at Questions will be answered on an ongoing 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 help you with this process.

For more information on the training required to become licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training website. 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 licensing process for child care providers. Nationwide, there are 35 CCR&Rs covering every county. To find out who your CCR&R is, check out the OCFS Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Directory.

For more information on how to become a New York City-licensed Section 47 child care center, visit the NYC Group Child Care (Center-Based) – Information for Operators website.

For more information on the training to be licensed, visit the OCFS Child Care Training website.

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Contact us by phone:

Childcare Deserts Helpline: 844-863-9320


M-F: 08:30-16:30

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