Search for COVID-19 and Reopening Information Here

Are child care centers open? Is there financial support for child care costs?

Last Updated: 10/28/2020

Child care centers are open for all clients.

If you need help finding child care, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency.

Locations providing remote-learning supervision services for children during the school day must be licensed as child-care centers. The Department of Children and Families has created emergency regulations for these facilities to undergo an expedited licensure process. Existing facilities wishing to continue operating are required to submit an application for licensure to NJ DCF no later than October 23, 2020. Detailed instructions on how to apply can be found in DCF's FAQ along with links to the application and attestation form. For additional questions, contact DCF's Office of Licensing at 1-877-667-9845 or dcf_ool@dcf.nj.gov.

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;
  • 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;
  • Completing DCF Office of Licensing daily log.

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.

Note: Beginning November 5, employers must adhere to new employee protection guidelines, summarized here. Detailed requirements, as well as exemptions for certain employers, can be found in Executive Order No. 192.

Support for Child Care Costs

School-Age Tuition Assistance Program
A new $150 million program has been created to provide child care support to New Jersey families, who are not eligible for the state Child Care Subsidy Program, but are in need of either full or part-time child care due to their child's school's remote learning schedule.

To be eligible for this assistance, you must be:

  • a NJ resident;
  • your child must be attending school remotely, either part-time or full-time; and
  • your annual gross household income must be $150,000 or less.

The income cap was increased from $75,000 to $150,000 on October 1.

This assistance is available until December 30, 2020 and applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.

Learn more about support for child care costs on the Division of Family Development's COVID-19 Child Care page. Apply online for the New Jersey School-Age Tuition Assistance Program.

Note: You will need to upload proof of income and a copy of your school's remote learning schedule (acceptable formats are word, PDF, png or jpeg). You should have these on hand before you start this application.

Child Care Subsidy Program

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, use this calculator to see if you are likely to be eligible. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the Child Care Subsidy Program's homepage.

In August, Governor Murphy announced the Department of Human Services will provide state child care subsidies for child care during the school day for children age 5 to 13 years old through the end of calendar year 2020.

Participation in the state Child Care Subsidy Program is available to children in families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level who meet program criteria.

Under the Governor's new COVID Child Care Initiative, through the end of the calendar year, currently enrolled and any newly enrolled school-age children will now be eligible for state subsidy funding for child care services throughout the school day.

Support for Child Care Centers

Grants are available to child centers to manage added operational costs due to new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Eligible child care centers can apply for grants through the New Jersey Child Care Information System.

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; https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/pressreleases/2020/approved/20200828.html