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Are child care centers open? Is there help for families with children or child care providers?

Last Updated: 06/15/2020

As of June 15, child care centers can reopen for all clients.

If you were using a child care center before the public health crisis, you should contact them to learn of their plans. If you need help finding child care, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency.

Child care centers must follow all safety guidelines detailed by the Department of Children and Families, including:

  • Screening staff and children for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry to the program facility each day;
  • Minimizing group sizes to 10 children and limiting movement between groups;
  • Ensuring that the spacing of groups allows for ten feet of separation between groups at all times;
  • Taking steps to preclude crowding at pick up and drop off times;
  • Strictly limiting the sharing of supplies, food, toys, and other items;
  • Prohibiting field trips and other off-site activities, with the exception of activities within walking distance of the facility;
  • Strictly limiting and discouraging close person to person contact (hugging, wrestling, games involving touching or tagging);
  • Requiring staff to wear cloth masks unless doing so would inhibit the individual's health – when feasible, children over age two should wear face coverings within the facility;
  • Continuing to teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • Restricting all visitors - except for emergency/law enforcement personnel in their official capacity and Department of Children Families personnel for child protection or child care licensing purposes – to after operating hours;
  • Implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices;
  • Planning for and abiding by procedures for response to COVID-19 exposure;
  • Completing DCF Office of Licensing daily log; and
  • Requiring notices and wall signs to be posted on entry and exit doors, in diapering areas, and in restrooms.

For further details on safety guidelines, see the Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements and see the Department of Children and Families' COVID-19 resources for licensed childcare. Each child care center must submit an attestation to the Department of Children and Families no later than 24 hours prior to the anticipated opening date, or in the case of currently operating emergency child care centers, within fourteen days of the effective date of Executive Order No. 149, attesting that it will follow all applicable health and safety standards.

Support for Child Care Costs
New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program helps income-eligible parents pay for child care and was expanded to support New Jersey families and providers that have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. If you need help paying for child care, you can use this calculator to see if you are likely to be eligible or visit the Division of Family Development's page for parents to learn more about this program.

New Jersey launched an Emergency Child Care Assistance Program (ECCAP) to help support child care costs of essential workers, regardless of their income. This program will come to an end in June and applications are no longer being accepted. Visit the Division of Family Development's Emergency Child Care page for more information.

Safety Grants for Child Care Centers
Up to $20 million in grants is available to help child care centers and youth camps meet health and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19. Child care centers can receive up to $5,000 to purchase additional cleaning products, personal protective equipment and other products and services. The providers must be registered with the NJ Workforce Registry and must apply through the New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS).

Information related to COVID-19 will continue to be posted on the Department of Human Services Novel Coronavirus Information page: https://nj.gov/humanservices/coronavirus.html.

Sources: https://www.childcarenj.gov/Resources/Coronavirus, https://www.nj.gov/dcf/coronavirus_licensedchildcare.html, Executive Order No. 149; Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements; https://nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/6-30-20_ExecutiveDirectiveNo20-021_ChildCare_SummerCamps.pdf