How Do I Get Childcare Vouchers in NYC?

By Jalisa Summerville
Be sure to check a childcare facility's background references.

The New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) provides funding for free or reduced childcare expenses to eligible families. The agency strives to ensure that each childcare facility hires qualified and experienced staff to help maintain a healthy and safe environment for children. The ACS issues childcare vouchers to eligible families who want to use childcare facilities not funded by the ACS. To obtain childcare vouchers, families must meet income and eligibility requirements and receive subsidized childcare approval from the agency.

Verify your eligibility to receive subsidized childcare. You must work or attend a training or educational program or receive assistance from the ACS, the Human Resources Administration or another social-services agency. Your total annual household income also cannot exceed the ACS income guidelines.

Contact the ACS at 212-341-0900, as of June 2011. Ask about the steps needed to obtain subsidized childcare and schedule an evaluation appointment. The agency may require you to provide income and employment verification documentation. Once you receive approval for services, the agency will issue childcare vouchers that you can use at childcare centers not funded by the ACS.

Contact the NYC Childcare Resource and Referral Consortium at 888-469-5999 to obtain contact information for childcare programs not funded by the ACS in your area which require childcare vouchers.

Contact at least two or three childcare providers and schedule an appointment to visit each facility.

Discuss your family's childcare goals and scheduling needs with the provider. Select the facility that best matches your family's needs.

Submit any required paperwork, including childcare vouchers.

Tip

ACS-funded programs do not require vouchers. Consequently, these programs generally have more childcare availability and openings than centers not funded by the ACS.

Warning

It can be difficult to obtain vouchers due to limited funding and a long waiting list.

Some childcare facilities not funded by the ACS do not maintain appropriate licenses or registration with the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.

About the Author

Jalisa Summerville is a social worker and former high school occupational English teacher who began writing in 2006. She has written grants for nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged children. Summerville holds a Master of Social Work from East Carolina University.