- What is Subsidized Child Care?
The Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS) provides free or low cost subsidized child care services for eligible families living in Suffolk County. Child care is available for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. Children with Special needs may be able to receive subsidized child care through 18 years of age.
- Who is Eligible for a Child Care Subsidy?
In order for a family to receive subsidized child care services, the family must meet specific program and financial criteria that are determined by federal, state and local regulations. For two-parent or two caretaker households, each parent or caretaker must meet at least one of the program criteria.
- What Is the Program Eligibility Criteria (Approved Reasons for Needing Child Care)?
Families are eligible for a Child Care subsidy under the five child care programs described here in (English) or (Spanish) when such care is not otherwise available from a legally responsible relative or caretaker of the child in need of child care and child care is a necessary part of a plan for self-support.
For two-parent or two-caretaker households, each parent or caretaker must meet at least one of the eligibility criteria.
- What is Suffolk County's current Income Eligibility Standard for a Child Care Subsidy?
Suffolk County's income eligibility standard for Non-Temporary Assistance (Low Income) Child Care is set at:
- 85% State Median Income (SMI) for initial applications (case openings). This means that if you are applying for a child care subsidy, your family's income would need to be at or below 85% of SMI for a family of your size in order for your family to be financially eligible for a subsidy.
- 85% SMI of NY for Case Closing. This means that if you have an open child care subsidy case, your family's income needs to be at or below 85% SMI NY for a family of your size in order for your family to remain eligible for a subsidy. If/when your family's income exceeds 85% SMI NY, your subsidy case will be closed due to "excess income".
Suffolk County's income eligibility standard for Transitional Child Care, Child Care for Homeless Children and "Special Needs" Child Care is set at 85% SMI of the NYS Income Standard. These programs are described below:
- Families who were receiving Temporary Assistance (TA), but became ineligible when their income increased due to employment or child support and have received Temporary Assistance in three of the six months prior to their TA case closing are eligible for Transitional Child Care for up to 12 months (from the date the TA case closed) while they are employed.
- To qualify for "Special Needs Child Care", a child in need of child care would need to have specific medically documented "Special Needs" that are severe enough to impact the child's ability to function normally. (NOTE: the family must also meet the program criteria for Non-Temporary Assistance (Low Income) Child Care. For a description of "Special Needs" and the form that must be completed by a medical professional, Click here : Special Needs Description & Form / Necesidades Especiales
To be financially eligible for a child care subsidy, your family's GROSS monthly income (before taxes) cannot exceed the figure shown on the Gross Income Chart / (Spanish) - based on your family size and program category.
If after viewing the Gross Income Chart you believe your family may be income eligible, use the Child Care Eligibility Wizard to see if you meet both the program and income criteria to receive a child care subsidy.
- How do I apply for a Non-Temporary Assistance (Low-Income) Child Care subsidy?
You will need to complete an application and submit the application together with the required supporting documentation to:
Suffolk County Department of Social Services
FCSA - Child Care Unit
PO Box 18100
Hauppauge, NY 11788-18100
NOTE: The application and some of the forms require original signatures. The Department cannot accept photocopies or faxed copies of the application or forms requiring original signatures.
There is NO face to face interview required to apply for a child care subsidy. However, the assigned Child Care Examiner will contact you by mail or phone in the event your application is incomplete or additional information is required.
- How Do I obtain an Application for Child Care Subsidy?
- What are an Applicant's Rights and Responsibilities?
Please review the booklets listed below to find out what you should know about an applicant's rights and responsibilities:
Please review the booklets listed below to find out what you should know about an applicant's rights and responsibilities:
4148A Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 1
4148A-SP Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 1 (Spanish)
4148B Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 2
4148B-SP Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 2 (Spanish)
4148C Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 3 (English)
4148C-SP Your Rights and Responsibilities Booklet 3 (Spanish)
- What can I Expect Once I Apply for Child Care Subsidy?
Your application and supporting documentation will be reviewed by a Child Care Examiner who will determine your eligibility and inform you, in writing, whether you are eligible to receive a child care subsidy.
View "What to Expect When you apply for a Child Care Subsidy"/ (Spanish)
- What are the Most Common Reasons why Child Care Applications are Denied / Child Care Cases are closed?
View the "Most Common Reasons why Child Care Applications are denied/Care Care cases are closed" / (Spanish).
- What Is a "Family Share"?
Each family receiving subsidized child care services, with the exception of a families where the parent(s) or caretaker relative(s) is receiving temporary assistance or a child is homeless, must contribute toward the costs of such services by paying a family share that is based upon the family's income.
Family shares are based on the amount of gross family income that exceeds the New York State Income standard (100%) and Suffolk County's family share percentage (1%):
Formula for Determining Family Share:
Family's Actual Annual Gross income minus the New York State Income Standard (100%) x 1%
Divided by 52 weeks = Weekly Family Share
For More Information about Family Share... / (Spanish)
Note: To find the "Federal Income Standard" for your family size, refer to the Gross Income Chart.
View Gross Income Chart / (Spanish).
Payment of Family Share to repay Suffolk County DSS for Overpayment
A family share may also be charged to a family so that Suffolk County DSS can recoup an overpayment for child care services ( regardless of whether any member of the family is receiving temporary assistance). This "repayment" family share will be added to the "income based" family share for those families who are responsible for paying a family share based on their income.
- Can I choose any Child Care Provider?
Families may choose any child care provider who is licensed or registered with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
Families may also select a legally exempt provider who is not licensed or registered (for example, a relative, friend or neighbor, Pre-Kindergarten programs, nursery schools and summer day camps). Legally exempt providers must be complete an enrollment package and be evaluated by the Child Care Council of Suffolk and, if the provider meets the health and safety standards set by OCFS, will be enrolled by the Child Care Council as a legally exempt child care provider.
EXCEPTION: Families receiving child care services as part of their child preventive services case are required to use a provider who is contracted with DSS.
In addition, the provider must be willing to accept child care subsidy payments from, and have a Vendor Account with, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS).
Click here for Description of the Types of Providers that Parent may chose from / (Spanish)
- How Do I Locate a Child Care Provider?
Contact Suffolk County's contracted Child Care Resource and Referral Agency at:
Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
60 Calvert Avenue
Commack, New York 11727
Go to NYS Office of Children and Family Services - Division of Child Care Services Home page and Click on "Search for Child Care".
- How and When will my Child Care Provider be Paid?
In addition to the family being determined eligible for a child care subsidy, the child care provider(s) must have a Vendor account with Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS) before child care services can be authorized by SCDSS and payment can be made to the child care provider(s).
- If your provider already has an vendor account with Suffolk County DSS, child care services can be authorized quickly once your eligibility has been determined. DSS will make payment for authorized child care only. If your child receives Child Care Services before or after the authorization period or for more days/hours than authorized by DSS, you will be solely responsible for payment for these services.
- If your provider does not already have a vendor account with Suffolk County DSS, the provider will need to submit a "W-9 Form" with their name, address, and Federal Identification Number or Social Security Number, whichever is applicable. View the W-9 Form / (Spanish).
- The provider will also need to complete a Rate Sheet stating what rates they change for child care services.
- If the provider is caring for a child with special needs and seeks to be reimbursed at the Special Needs Rate, the provider must submit an Application for Additional Funding for a Special Needs Child (English / Spanish) and a Medical Statement in Support of Special Needs Consideration Form (English / Spanish) completed by a medical or mental health professional (if not already submitted to DSS by the parent / caretaker), and justification / documentation that additional costs and/or services are being incurred by the provider as a direct result of caring for the special needs child (see examples provided in the application).
- DSS cannot pay rates that exceed the published NYS Child Care Market Rates or the rates the provider charges their private-paying clients, whichever is LOWER. Market Rate Chart Effective June 1, 2022 / (Spanish)
- When completing the Request for Child Care Services Payment Rates / (Spanish) the provider must enter the rates they would charge for each age group and level of care shown (i.e. Hourly, Part-Day, Daily, Weekly) even if the provider will only be providing child care for a single child. Failure to do so will result in the rate sheet being returned to the provider for completion, thereby delaying the authorization of child care services with the provider.
Once the Department receives all required documentation and establishes a vendor account, child care services can be authorized. DSS will make payment for authorized child care only. If your child receives child care service before or after the authorization period or for more days/hours than authorized by DSS, you will be solely responsible for payment for these services.
IMPORTANT: If the provider fails to complete the Vendor Account process, the Department cannot authorize child care services with, nor make payment to, the provider. If your child received child care services from the provider without DSS authorization, you will be fully responsible for any child care costs you incurred.
Child Care Providers will be paid directly by the Department of Social Services on a monthly basis based on the days/ hours of care authorized by DSS, the rate established by DSS, and the attendance sheets signed by the parent/caretaker attesting that the child received child care services.
Exception: In the case of enrolled "Informal In Home Child Care Providers", payment will be sent to the parent/caretaker and it is the responsibility of the parent/caretaker to pay the provider. ( NOTE: The failure of a parent / caretaker to pay the provider may result in closing of the child subsidy case.)
- How do I report My Concerns about the Health or Safety of a Child in a Child Care Program located in Suffolk County?
The NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Maintains a toll-free complaint line for complaints about day care programs. Call during normal working hours and a staff person will take the information.
The office is empowered to investigate any possible violation of child care regulations. If you think a person or program is operating without the proper license or registration certificate, this is also a basis for making a complaint. Your complaint will be investigated, and if it is substantiated, staff will work with the provider to correct any violations.
If you wish to report a complaint, please call (Toll Free): (800) 732-5207
Call NYS OCFS' Long Island Regional Office @ (631) 240-2560
- Where can I find Suffolk County's Child Care Plan?
Click here to view Child and Family Services Plan-Plan Child Care Section
- How do I Become a Child Care Provider?
The NYS Office of Children and Family Services provides support for people and organizations that are interested in starting child day care programs in their communities. As a general rule, any child day care program planning to serve three or more children for more than three hours a day on a regular basis must obtain a license or registration. Visit OCFS ' Website to learn more.
- What are my responsibilities as Child Care Provider serving DSS subsidized Children?
Click here for a description of the responsibilities of a child care provider serving Suffolk County DSS subsidized children / (Spanish)
- How does a Child Care Provider become Eligible to serve Suffolk County DSS subsidized families?
To be eligible to serve families receiving a child care subsidy, a provider must be licensed or registered with NYS Office of Children and Family Services or be Legally Exempt Provider enrolled with the Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
If you do not already a licensed, registered, or legally exempt child care provider and would like information regarding how to become licensed, registered or enrolled:
In addition, the provider must have a Vendor Account with the Suffolk County Department of Social Services and accept the rates established by the Department. This is done at the point that the provider first seeks to serve a DSS subsidized client. Once the vendor account and rates have been established, the provider can serve additional authorized DSS subsidized clients without having to repeat this process. (NOTE: In the case of legally exempt providers, each child must be "enrolled" with the provider before the provider can serve the family).
- Rates paid for child care services depend on the provider type, the age of the child and the number of days/hours that child care is provided. (DSS cannot pay rates that exceed the published NYS Child Care Market rates or the rates the provider charges their private-paying clients, whichever is LOWER).
- When completing the rate sheet, the provider must enter the rates they would charge for each age-group and level of care shown (i.e. Hourly, Part-Day, Daily, Weekly) even if the provider will only be providing child care for a single child. Failure to do so will result in the rate sheet being returned to the provider for completion, thereby delaying the authorization of child care services with the provider.
- What Rates does Suffolk County DSS Pay for Child Care Services provided to DSS subsidized Children?
Rates paid for child care services depend on the provider type, the age of the child and the number of the days/hours that child care is provided.
DSS cannot pay rates that exceed the published NYS Child Care Market Rates or the rates the provider charges their private-paying clients, whichever is LOWER. Click here to view Suffolk County's Market Rates /Spanish
- What is "Web Submittal" And how do I enroll?
In collaboration with NYS OCFS, Suffolk County DSS implemented the internet-based Child Care Time & Accrual (CCTA) tracking system in 2011. There are a number of benefits to using the CCTA system including:
- On-line submission of attendance (No more paper time sheets!);
- Real time information on new authorizations, change or discontinuances;
- Accurate calculation of subsidy payments;
- On-line information regarding pending and processed payment (No Need to phone DSS!)
Signing up as a new user is easy. Simply sign a user agreement and tell us who the primary system user will be. You can registrar others at a later time but, for now, we only need to know about the primary user. Once we receive this information, we will give the user a verification code to log-in and self-register. Please click on the following link for the letter describing "Web Submittal" in English / Spanish and User Agreement in English / Spanish these forms must be completed.
The CCTA System will walk you through the few short steps to self-register, and also provide you with links to on-line, easy to understand training webinars that can teach you how to use the system and submit attendance electronically. If you have any questions or run into any trouble along the way, an entire CCTA Support Center is available by phone or email.