Invest in New York - Child Care Deserts Grant for Existing Providers

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Scam Alert

OCFS has become aware of a potential scam attempt being committed against child care providers. There is an individual(s) who has called programs and represents themselves as an OCFS employee and is asking for a verification code to access your grant homepage. OCFS will never contact you to ask for this code and reminds you to never share sensitive or confidential information with people you are not familiar with. OCFS is committed to assisting you in protecting your information, if you have questions or would like to report suspicious activity, please contact your local CCR&R or Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320. You can get more information and report fraud directly at:

Thank you for your interest in the Invest in New York Child Care Deserts Grant for Existing Providers. The application portal closed on 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Over 3,000 applications were submitted. OCFS will announce the awardees for this highly competitive grant at a future date. All applicants will be contacted via email of their status. You can view your existing application:

Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320

Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Program Overview

New York State identified $100M to build and expand child care capacity in areas with the least supply, with $30M available to existing programs expanding capacity under their current license. 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.

RFA#2 for Existing child care providers seeks to expand the capacity and/or types of care currently available within licensed programs.

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 closed on August 24th, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Invest in NY Child Care awards will be announced no earlier than September 2022.
  • Payments will be made no later than June 30, 2024.

Resources for Navigating the Application Portal

Child Care Deserts RFA 2 Application Instructions

General Requirements

Eligible providers must be operating an existing licensed child care program before January 28, 2022 and have a base RFA score of at least 30, based on their site location. Providers must have contacted their assigned OCFS regulator or NYC DOHMH borough office about changes to their license and initiated the process for updating program specifics before submitting their application. NYCDOHMH permitted Article 47 day care centers must initiate contact with their borough office regarding permit changes.

The RFA is organized into two components:

Component RFA Requirements

Component A: For Day Care Centers, including NYC Article 47 Centers, and School Age Child Care programs

To expand up to 25 NEW child care slots under their existing license.

Component B: For Small Day Care Centers, Family Day Care and Group Family Day Care programs

To provide at least ONE of the following:

  • Expand program hours to include at least 15 hours of nontraditional hour care a week.
  • Provide services to at least one newly enrolled infant/toddler.1
  • Provide services to at least one newly enrolled child with special needs.1
  1. Component B providers must have current enrollment that is less than their licensed capacity to be able to apply for the Child Care Deserts grant. Programs may not displace existing children from care to create openings.

To read the full requirements to apply for this grant, read the full Request for Application here:

All awarded programs will be expected to enroll and participate in the QUALITYStarsNY program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the application portal open?

The application portal closed on August 24th, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

When will awards be announced?

Awards will be announced no earlier than September 2022. Over 3,000 applications were received, making this grant highly competitive. OCFS thanks you for your patience as we review all of the applications.

Where can I go if I have questions about my award status or application?

If you have questions on your award status, please reach out to your CCR&R or assigned regulator. You may also view your existing application.

Find Child Care Deserts in NY

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

Child Care Deserts Map Instructions: Child Care Deserts Map Instructions English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructions Spanish / Español

Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video: Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video English | Child Care Deserts Map Instructional Video Spanish / Español

(Supporting data used to create the Child Care Deserts map.)

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

Find Child Care Priorities in your Region

Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) collaborated 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 Deserts Program

Program specific licensure questions should be sent to your OCFS regulator, local CCR&R, or NYCDOHMH for permitted Article 47 programs.

All communications to report errors or omissions in the procurement processor to request clarification of this RFA should cite the particular RFA section and paragraph number and must be submitted via email to with RFA#2 Existing (Existing Programs) in the subject line, along with your facility ID number.

If OCFS determines that a submitted question deals with program site or staffing ratio requirements for licensure, OCFS will direct your question to the applicable regulator or CCR&R or to NYCHOHMH for permitted Article 47 programs. 

Child Care Deserts Help Line

Contact us by phone:

Child Care Deserts Help Line: 844-863-9320


M-F: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.