As you start your in-home child care program, you will have the option to choose between two types of programs. Family day care and group family day care, as they are called in New York, mainly differ in the number and ages of children you can care for at once.

Family Day Care

A family day care program cares for children for more than three hours per day per child in a residence for 3 to 6 children, or up to 8 children if 2 are school-age and attend the program only when school is not in session.

Generally, the provider is the only caretaker in a family day care program but if care is provided for more than 2 infants, there must be one caregiver for every 2 children under two years of age in the family day care program.

A family day care program may provide care for children

  • 6 weeks through 12 years of age;
  • 13 years of age or older who are under court supervision;
  • 13 years of age or older who are incapable of caring for themselves when such inability is documented by a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist;
  • And, in extenuating circumstances, for children under 6 weeks of age with prior approval from the Office of Children and Family Services.

Group Family Day Care

A group family day care is a program caring for children for more than three hours per day per child in a residence for 7 to 12 children, or up to 16 children if 4 of them are school-aged and attend the program only when school is not in session.

Group family day care programs must have one caregiver for every 2 children under two years of age. A group family day care program must have at least one assistant to the operator present when child day care is being provided to seven or more children when none of the children are school age.

They must also have at least one assistant if care if offered to nine or more children when at least two of the children are school-age and receive services outside of school.

Family Day Care Group Family Day Care
Number of children allowed 3-6 children, or 8 children if 2 are school-age and attend the program only when school is not in session 7-12 children, or 16 if 4 are school-aged and attend the program only when school is not in session
Condition for children under two years of age Must have one caregiver for every two children under two years of age Must have one caregiver for every two children under two years of age
Assistant to the Operator Generally, the provider is the only caretaker in a family day care program Must have at least one assistant present when child day care is being provided to 7 or more children when none of the children are school age; must have at least one assistant present if you care for 9 or more children when at least two of the children are school-age

Starting your own in-home child care program? This post is a part of our New York State series on family child care licensing. More on licensing in New York:

New York State Family Child Care Licensing: An Overview
The Licensing Process
License Eligibility
Training Requirements for Licensing
Home Requirements for Licensing