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New online tool helps parents find low, no-cost childcare

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  • Staff Report 

New York State has introduced an online screening tool aimed at helping eligible parents find low or no-cost childcare in the state. The tool is designed to determine eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) by asking basic questions about family circumstances and income. While it does not provide access to resources, it is intended to alert parents and guardians of their eligibility.


According to Suzanne Miles Gustave, the acting commissioner of NYS Office of Children and Family Services, less than 10% of children who are eligible for child care assistance actually receive it. Gustave is co-chairing the NYS Child Care Availability Task Force with Roberta Reardon, the NYS Department of Labor commissioner. The task force has been re-established to analyze current issues in childcare accessibility and affordability and make recommendations to the governor.

To use the CCAP, families must meet certain basic requirements such as receiving temporary assistance, being foster parents, or meeting income restrictions. The online screening tool can help determine eligibility.

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Roberta Reardon emphasized that childcare is not just a women’s issue but is a parent issue, an employer issue, and a societal issue. Addressing it is vital to the state’s continued economic recovery. To find specific free or low-cost childcare resources and learn how much they would cost, parents can submit an application at their local Department of Social Services.

Parents looking for a county-specific list of all childcare providers, both within and outside of CCAP, can contact a state-recommended referral agency. The introduction of the online screening tool is expected to increase awareness of the CCAP and encourage more eligible families to take advantage of the program.



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