How to Start a Child Care Center in New York


If you are thinking of launching your very own child care center in New York, we have got you covered!

Before opening a child care center, you will need to figure out the type of program you want to open, a suitable location to lease or buy, a business plan and financial data, and the legal considerations such as licensing or registration.

In this article, we help you figure out all these details and reveal why you should enroll your child in a reputable early childhood centre in New York.

Choose the Right Business Structure

When becoming a child day care business provider, you need to start by choosing the right business structure. This is determined by the type of child care you choose to cater to, which includes group day care, school-age child care, group family day care, and family day care. All of these fall under the authority of the New York Department of Health (DOH) and are subject to regular inspections by them.

Second, you will need to get child care business insurance from a professional business insurance provider. This will help provide coverage against business risks, property damage, and daycare-specific liabilities.

During this process, you will also need to decide the business entity of the child care center. This means deciding whether you want to run the center as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. This will have an impact on any potential legal proceedings in the future.

Becoming a Provider

Starting a child care center in New York involves completing the following steps.

  1. Complete the child care online orientation through the Office of Children and Family Services website and request an application when you are ready.
  2. Fill out the application with the relevant documents and be ready for local inspections and approvals.
  3. Submit a complete application package with the New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
  4. Prepare an OCFS representative to carry out the relevant inspections of your child care center.
  5. Receive a license or registration and open for business.

Keep in mind that as a provider, you will need to obtain a mandatory 30 hours of training every 2 years in order to provide quality child care. You may even wish to go beyond this requirement and engage in child care training and professional development by accessing resources such as Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) and tools such as ASPIRE, which is designed to help providers keep track of their professional development.

Consider All Health and Safety Measures

Consider All Health and Safety Measures

When you operate a child care center, you will need to abide by certain health and safety protocols and codes that are in line with the New York City Health Code and are enforced by the DOH’s Bureau of Daycare.

For instance, you need to ensure that fire safety and emergency evacuation plans are in place in the facility. You will also need to account for health and infection control, including health examination and immunization of both employees and children.

Furthermore, as a provider, you need to be mindful of the food service and nutrition you give to children, the physical safety of the facility and equipment such as toys, restroom provision, administering medication, and computer safety.

All these codes must be strictly followed to provide the highest quality of care to your client’s child.

Hiring the Right Employees

As a child care center owner, you will need to be very careful about who you hire.

You should check for criminal records, consult the New York State Central Child Abuse

and Maltreatment Register as well as the Sex Offender registry, and ask each applicant for reference letters of their most recent employers.

If an applicant has resided in another state in the past 5 years, consider checking the criminal history repository, child abuse and maltreatment registry, and sex offender registry against the respective state(s).

Additionally, remember to verify their experience in child care and ask relevant and insightful questions so that you hire the right employees for the job.

In Conclusion

Child care is a truly rewarding field that requires motivation, passion, and commitment. When opening a child care center, you need to treat it as more than just a business as you will be responsible for the most important and valuable aspect of your client’s life.

As a child care provider, make sure to streamline daily operations, keep detailed records, engage with staff on a weekly basis, and inspect the building regularly to ensure that you manage everything smoothly.

We wish you the best on a truly rewarding journey of opening a child care center in New York!



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