Ask Your COVID-19 Questions Here

Are child care centers open?

All child care centers in New Jersey that wish to continue operating must certify that they will solely serve the children of essential workers. The deadline to certify is Friday, March 27.

  • Beginning Wednesday, April 1, only child care centers that exclusively serve the children of essential workers will be allowed to remain open.
  • Child care centers that remain open must abide by new health and safety guidelines which will be released by the Department of Children and Families.

Again - if you are a child care center that wishes to remain open beyond April 1, you must certify that you can and will exclusively serve the children of essential workers by Friday, March 27. Please click here for the required Certification Form.

A child care center is defined as an entity providing care on a regular basis for children aged 0-13, including licensed child care centers.

If there are gaps in child care availability, the director of the Office of Emergency Management will direct coordination to identify schools that can serve as emergency child care centers for the children of essential workers, up to grade 8.

Who are considered "essential workers"?
"Essential persons" includes, but is not limited to:

  • Health care workers, including staff working in health care facilities and in community-based services including home health and behavioral health
  • Law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency services personnel, and staff at correctional facilities
  • Individuals employed at emergency child care centers operating on or after April 1, 2020
  • Staff working for entities that provide essential social services, including, but not limited to, group home and shelter staff
  • Essential government employees who are unable to work from home, including child protection services workers, child welfare workers, foster care workers, unemployment compensation processing staff, and public health employees
  • Certain other workers at essential retail businesses defined in Executive Order 107. For a list of essential retail businesses, refer to this page.

Resources for child care providers

Emergency child care resources for essential workers

New Jersey is launching an Emergency Child Care Assistance Program (ECCAP) to help support child care costs when a parent or guardian is an essential employee, regardless of your income. The Department of Human Services' Division of Family Development will administer the program.
If you are an "essential" employee (as defined above) needing child care, you must register with the Department's county-based Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agencies. "Essential" employees who are normally eligible for the Child Care Subsidy Program must enroll in the ECCAP to continue receiving child care services. Your CCR&R will follow-up with you within two business days to gather additional information about you and your needs and help you identify a child care provider. Visit the Division of Family Development's Emergency Child Care page for more information

Updated/Reviewed: 4/2/2020