Invest in New York – Child Care Deserts Grant

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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

Important Dates

  • The application portal opened for new providers on April 11, 2022 and closes on May 19, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Apply to the Grant Program.
  • Invest in NY Child Care awards will be for two years and must begin by 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

All interested parties must complete the OCFS Child Day Care Orientation before applying for the Invest in NY Child Care grant opportunity. 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.


Applications are now being accepted for new providers who have completed their orientation, received their facility ID, and are ready to apply!

Check out the Grant Portal Training Resources section of this page for step-by-step instructions on navigating the application.

The application portal will close on May 19, 2022 at 11:59PM.


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