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

Last Updated: 07/07/2021

Note: Face masks remain mandatory on public transportation, and may be required in health care facilities, nursing homes, child care facilities, and prisons, based on CDC guidance. For more information, refer to Executive Order No. 242.

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.

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

  • Daily on-site screening of children, staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19; or daily staff, parent/child, and visitor self-reporting of symptoms of COVID-19 at or prior to arrival
  • Persons who have a fever or other signs of COVID-19 illness as outlined in the Department of Health COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for OperatingChild Care Facilities, shall not be admitted to the facility.
  • Children aged 2 and over shall continue to be taught, and strongly encouraged, to use masks whenever social distancing cannot be maintained in both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Children shall be grouped into groups of no more than 30. Classes shall include the same group of children each day, to the greatest extent possible.
  • Designated groupings shall not congregate less than six feet in all directions from other designated groups or, in the alternative shall be separated by walls or other physical partitions.
  • Combining or mixing groups shall not be permitted except that Centers may permit the limited comingling of groups during periods when total attendance is substantially decreased.
  • Staff shall be required to wear masks at all times in indoor and outdoor settings unless precluded from doing so by a medical or developmental condition documented in a letter from the staff member's treating physician, or when impracticable, such as when the individual is eating or drinking.
  • Toys and items that are not easily cleaned or disinfected (e.g., soft or plush toys) shall not be utilized in the center, though such items brought from home may be utilized if they are not shared and must be returned home with the child each day for washing.
  • Field trips off site are strongly discouraged but not prohibited. During transport, masks should be used and social distancing should be maintained to the greatest extent practicable, and centers shall adhere to the transportation related recommendations contained in the COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Operating Child Care Centers.
  • Close person to person contact (hugging, wrestling, games involving touching or tagging) shall be limited to the greatest extent possible, though centers should not punish otherwise age appropriate behavior.

For further details, see the Department of Health Executive Directive 21-004, the Department of Children and Families' Health Recommendations for Reopening, the Department of Children and Families' FAQ, and the Department of Children and Families' COVID-19 resources for licensed childcare.

Support for Child Care Costs

New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program can help lower-income families who are working, in training, in school, or a combination of these activities to pay a portion of their child care.

For more information and how to apply, visit childcarenj.gov.

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, Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements;