Child Care Deserts Grant2022-09-14T16:21:51-04:00

OCFS Child Care Deserts Grants

OCFS Child Care Deserts Grants

The NYS Office of Children and Families Services (OCFS) is offering two grant opportunities to help providers open and expand early childhood programs in New York’s child care deserts.

The RFA 1 grant is designed to support providers with opening a new early childhood program in a child care desert area. Providers awarded a Child Care Deserts Grant for New Programs are expected to participate in QUALITYstarsNY’s Start with Stars initiative once their new program is licensed. This will allow these new programs in child care deserts to access QUALITYstarsNY’s support and services to help them create a foundation for success right from the start.

Please note: If you are awarded a RFA 1 grant, you have 30 days from your award date to apply for QUALITYstarsNY/Start with Stars. Get started with the application now.

This grant opportunity is for child care programs that are licensed/permitted/registered before January 28, 2022 who are seeking to expand capacity under their existing license. The application window is now closed. Providers awarded a Child Care Deserts Grant for Existing Providers are required to participate in QUALITYstarsNY once awarded the grant.

Unlike RFA 1, these grantees will participate in QUALITYstarsNY rather than Start with Stars, unless they meet the general eligibility criteria for Start with Stars. These programs would be eligible to participate in Start with Stars if they are either:

  • A new program first licensed within the last year
  • Have new program leadership
  • Need support to address challenges related to meeting licensing requirements

If the program does not meet these criteria, they will participate in QUALITYstarsNY. This will give RFA 2 grant awardees access to QUALITYstarsNY’s comprehensive services and resources to support the growth of their existing child care desert program!

Learn More on the OCFS RFA 2 Portal
QUALITYstarsNY logo

Information Sessions for Child Care Deserts Grant Awardees and Applicants

For Providers Awarded a Child Care Deserts Grant for New Programs (RFA 1) or Applying for a Child Care Deserts Grant for New Programs (RFA 2)

We’re hosting Information Sessions for those who have been awarded or applied for a child care deserts grant. Join us to learn more more about the requirement that grant awardees participate in the Start with Stars Initiative (RFA 1) or QUALITYstarsNY (RFA2) and the ways it will benefit your program!

Wednesday, September 21

6:30 – 8:00 PM | Register

Wednesday, October 5

10:00 – 11:30 AM | Register

Wednesday, October 12

10:00 – 11:30 AM | Register

Wednesday, October 12

En Español

6:00 – 7:30 PM | Regístrese

Watch the Start with Stars Information Session Recording: English | Español

Download the slides: English | Español

FAQs for RFA 1

What is QUALITYstarsNY?2022-05-12T16:31:45-04:00

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State’s voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System for early childhood programs. QUALITYstarsNY is designed to empower programs to enhance the quality of early childhood education for New York’s children and families. Programs participating in QUALITYstarsNY are rated on a 5-Star scale every three years and are supported with a full complement of resources to improve their quality and increase their Star Rating. The core focus of QUALITYstarsNY is to help early childhood programs in all regulated settings engage in continuous quality improvement to best serve young children and their families.

What is Start with Stars?2022-05-12T16:35:56-04:00

Start with Stars is a QUALITYstarsNY initiative designed, in part, to support newly licensed early childhood programs. Programs participating in Start with Stars have access to individualized support to help them create a foundation for success right from the start.

Do I have to participate in Start with Stars if I am awarded a Child Care Deserts Grant?2022-05-12T16:45:34-04:00

Yes, recipients of the OCFS Child Care Deserts Grant are expected to participate in Start with Stars within 30 days of receiving their license for the new program.

How Does Start with Stars Differ from QUALITYstarsNY?2022-05-12T16:36:27-04:00

The duration of participation in Start with Stars is short-term (6 months) while QUALITYstarsNY participation is ongoing. In Start with Stars, programs meet more frequently with their Quality Improvement Specialist. Start with Stars programs are not rated until they transition into QUALITYstarsNY, after which they have access to the full range of QUALITYstarsNY resources.

Could my Child Care Deserts Grant program choose to participate in QUALITYstarsNY instead of Start with Stars?2022-05-12T16:38:13-04:00

No, grant awardees are expected to participate in Start with Stars before joining QUALITYstarsNY. After six months of building capacity to engage in continuous quality improvement, programs will transition into QUALITYstarsNY to continue their quality improvement journey.

What will I be expected to do as a Start with Stars participant?2022-05-13T14:07:51-04:00

As a Start with Stars participant, you are expected to meet every 2-4 weeks with your QI Specialist on-site at your program and regularly communicate with them via email and/or phone between meetings. Partner with your QI Specialist to complete foundational tasks that will build your program’s capacity to engage in continuous quality improvement.

How long does participation in Start with Stars last?2022-05-12T16:55:50-04:00

Your program will participate in Start with Stars for six months, after which you’ll transition into QUALITYstarsNY.

When do I need to apply to participate in Start with Stars for my Child Care Deserts Grant program?2022-05-12T16:40:26-04:00

If your new program has already been issued a license/permit: you will have 30 days from when you are awarded a Child Care Deserts Grant to apply for Start with Stars.

If you complete the license/permit process after you are awarded the grant: you will have 30 days from when your license/permit is issued to apply for Start with Stars.

What do I need to do before applying for Start with Stars?2022-05-12T16:41:07-04:00

You program must have its license/permit issued before you can apply for Start with Stars. Additionally, you must create an Organization Profile for your new program in The Aspire Registry before you can apply or participate in Start with Stars. Learn how to join Aspire and create your program’s Organization Profile in The Aspire Registry Help Center.

Do I need to create a new Aspire Organization Profile if I’m transitioning from a family to group family child care license?2022-05-13T10:48:31-04:00

You can contact The Aspire Registry through their Help Center to request your current Organization Profile be updated with your new group family license information. This only applies to programs that are remaining in the same location—just changing from a family to group family child care license. If you are opening a site at a new location, you will have to create an Organization Profile in Aspire  for that new location before applying to Start with Stars.

How do I apply for Start with Stars?2022-05-12T16:56:39-04:00

There are two steps to apply to Start with Stars. The first step to start the application process is to complete the Program Interest Form available on our website. On the Interest Form, please answer the questions under the “Child Care Deserts” section to help us identify your program as a Child Care Deserts Grant applicant. Once your Program Interest form is reviewed, our staff will make the Start with Stars application available for you to complete in the QUALITYstarsNY data system. You will receive an email notification when the Start with Stars application is available to your program.

Am I required to transition into QUALITYstarsNY after participating in Start with Stars as part of the Child Care Deserts Grant?2022-05-13T10:50:41-04:00

Yes, programs must participate in QUALITYstarsNY for the duration of their grant term after completing 6 months in Start with Stars.

What can I expect when my program participates in QUALITYstarsNY?2022-05-12T16:47:54-04:00

Your program will continue to partner with your QI Specialist throughout your participation in QUALITYstarsNY through regular on-site meetings and ongoing communication. Once you transition to QUALITYstarsNY, you will complete the rating process to earn your first Star Rating. Working with your QI Specialist, you will use the QUALITYstarsNY Program Standards to identify opportunities for improvement and continue to develop your Quality Improvement Plan, with access to a range of resources to achieve your quality improvement goals. Approximately every 3 years, you will complete the re-rating process to reflect on your progress and celebrate the ways you are enhancing and sustaining quality.

What resources are available to QUALITYstarsNY programs?2022-05-12T16:48:23-04:00

Programs participating in QUALITYstarsNY receive:

  • Ongoing support from their Quality Improvement Specialist
  • Data-driven assessment through the rating process to inform quality improvement planning
  • Professional development opportunities and scholarships for staff
  • Access to high quality classroom materials and furnishings
  • And more!
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