Search for COVID-19 and Reopening Information Here

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

Last Updated: 02/18/2021

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:

  • Screening staff and children for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry to the program facility each day;
  • Minimizing group sizes to 15 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;
  • Completing DCF Office of Licensing daily log.

For further details, see the Department of Health Executive Directive 20-032, 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

Child Care Subsidy Program
New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program helps income-eligible parents pay for child care during the school day for children 5 to 13 years old and was expanded to support New Jersey families and providers that have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

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.

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.

Note: The program has been extended through the end of the school year to June 30, 2021.

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.

Applications to the program have closed. If you were approved for School-Age Tuition Assistance, payments for your child's care were extended through the end of the school year to June 30, 2021.

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.

New Jersey has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking insights and ideas on ways to build the business capacity and sustainability of child care providers in New Jersey, aiming to identify business challenges that these providers face as they operate throughout COVID-19.

NOTE: Locations providing remote-learning supervision services for children during the school day must be licensed as child-care centers. To continue operating, existing facilities were required to submit an application for licensure to the Department of Children and Families by October 23, 2020. For more information, refer to DCF's FAQ or contact DCF's Office of Licensing at 1-877-667-9845 or dcf_ool@dcf.nj.gov.

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.

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/2021/approved/20210217.html