How to Start a Childcare Business in New York

start daycare business new york

As the fourth most populous state in the U.S., New York has a high demand for essential family services like childcare. Because of this high demand, there are important childcare laws and regulations in place to protect kids when receiving care from professionals. 

With such a great need for more licensed childcare providers in New York, starting your own daycare business is lucrative and necessary. But how do you start a childcare business in New York and set yourself up for success? 

First, you must learn what’s required — especially the legal and financial boxes you’ll need to check. In this article, we share the most important things you need to know about how to start a childcare business in New York. Keep reading to make sure you get started on the right track!

Understand New York Childcare Licensing Laws

You may be wondering, “How hard can starting a daycare center be? I’ve nannied plenty of children.” Truth is, there’s a lot more work that goes into an official childcare business.

If three or more children are under your care for which you receive payment, you need to get a childcare license. This includes smaller in-home daycare programs and alternative childcare options like Montessori preschools.

According to New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), any childcare business operating without a license in New York is subject to legal penalties. Equally as important to know, there are five different childcare licenses that protect providers and customers — all of which have varying definitions and standards. 

Five Types of Childcare Licenses in New York 

Before opening a daycare center, you should know which scope of care you want to provide as well as your ideal classroom size. In New York, there are five types of childcare situations considered by the state, each requiring a different approach to licensing.

  1. Child Day Care Center: A childcare operation that consistently provides care for more than 6 children for at least three hours per day, taking place at a non-residence facility. 
  2. Family Day Care Home: A daycare operation that provides care for 3-6 kids for at least three hours per day, located in a home residence. 
  3. Group Family Day Care Home: An in-home daycare operation that provides care for 7-12 children for at least three hours per day.
  4. School-Aged Child Care Program: A non-residence childcare operation that offers enrolled care throughout the school year to 7 or more children under the age of 13.
  5. Small Day Care Center: A non-residence childcare operation that provides care for 3-6 children for at least three hours per day. 

Read the complete definitions of these five types of childcare in Part 413, Section 2b of the New York State Child Care Regulations.

Apply for a Childcare License in New York 

Even though the licensing requirements might look somewhat different depending on which program you want to run, the general application process looks the same. Here are the four steps you can expect to take when getting a New York State childcare license.

1. Complete Your Orientation 

Before applying for a New York childcare license, complete the online orientation. In the orientation, you’ll learn about the intricacies of New York childcare licensing rules and regulations, as well as the provider expectations for the type of daycare you want to run.

2. Submit Your NY Childcare Applications and Fees

After you complete the orientation, you’ll receive information on how to fill out your license application. Don’t be surprised to learn that filling out the applications is a lengthy, detailed process. You’ll have to provide:

  • Personal and financial information
  • Home addresses
  • Professional references
  • CPR/First Aid Certifications
  • Criminal background checks and fingerprinting 
  • Daycare floor plans
  • Compliance agreements
  • Education records 

New York State childcare applications are often dozens of pages long. Review the samples online to help you get everything prepared ahead of time. 

3. Undergo an Inspection from OCFS

As part of your application, an analyst from the state Office of Children and Family Services will schedule an inspection with you. Depending on the location and type of daycare business you’re applying for, the inspector will go through your facility to verify if it meets all the health and safety requirements. 

4. Obtain Your Daycare License Status

After you complete all the steps required to get licensed, you have to wait to hear from OCFS. If you’re approved, they’ll send your license in the mail. Once you finally receive your official license, it’s time to start setting up your New York childcare or daycare center.

Ready to launch your new daycare? Learn how to write a childcare center business plan first!

Create a Curriculum of NY State Early Learning Standards

An important part of planning for your daycare is developing a curriculum. Make sure you include the New York State Early Learning Guidelines when making your lesson plans. These guidelines make sure you facilitate a learning environment that encourages children to stay on track of developmental milestones for their age group. 

When making your curriculum, it’s also a good idea to plan when (and how) you’ll conduct learning assessments throughout the year. To make sure you keep up with New York Early Learning Standards, consider a digital platform that organizes each framework and tracks the learning assessments of your class. 

Follow New York Childcare Standards and Policies 

Opening your daycare business is only the first step. It takes a lot of consistent hard work and dedication to not only remain open, but to thrive.

You and your staff must remain compliant with New York state childcare laws. You’re encouraged to follow yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily policies and procedures to keep everything running smoothly. Notable examples include: 

  • Submit license and insurance renewals on time.
  • Keep records of daycare attendance, staff-to-student ratios, and staff training.
  • Educate your employees on Mandated Reporter laws and enforce these on an ongoing basis.
  • Make sure all staff and/or volunteers pass state background checks.
  • Always complete incident reports promptly and save copies for your records.
  • Uphold all health and safety standards daily.

In addition to all of this, setting up detailed schedules and SOPs (standard operating procedures) will help everyone at your daycare facility perform their best. 

Set Up Daily Connect: Childcare Software for New York Daycares

There are a lot of action steps and documents to keep track of when trying to start a New York daycare center. There’s an even bigger list of things to manage once you have to run your business! To help you stay organized and on track, rely on one of the most powerful tools in the industry: the daycare management software from Daily Connect

The Daily Connect app helps New York daycare professionals streamline and scale their businesses with features like:

  • Parent Billing Automation 
  • Childcare Operation Management
  • Child Attendance Tracking 
  • Learning Assessment Records
  • Parent and Staff Communication Platform
  • Daycare Management Resources 
  • Daycare Lesson Plans
  • And more

See how Daily Connect can help you manage every aspect of your New York daycare. Click here to get started with your free trial today. 

Leave a ReplyCancel reply