Nearly 5,000 programs have already received funding from the OCFS Workforce Retention Grant, which provides eligible programs with funding for payroll tax assistance, staff recruitment efforts and up to $3,000 in bonuses for each eligible employee!

Don’t miss the opportunity to apply. The deadline is Sept. 15.


What is the OCFS Workforce Retention Grant?

The OCFS Workforce Retention Grant is an opportunity for child care programs and providers to retain staff members by providing retention bonuses of up to $3,000 and to recruit and hire new staff by providing sign-on bonuses and payroll tax assistance. Directors should apply on behalf of their program.

The grant consists of two components:

  1. Staff retention bonuses: Programs and providers who apply for the Workforce Retention Grant will request funds on behalf of each eligible staff member.
  2. Staff recruitment expenses and payroll tax assistance: Applicants can request funds related to expenses for recruiting and hiring new staff, including sign-on bonuses, benefit packages for new staff, advertising and marketing and longevity bonuses.

Why should program directors apply for an OCFS Workforce Retention Grant?

This grant is a one-time opportunity, and you deserve the funds that have been allocated to you and your staff. There are sufficient funds available for all programs. As long as your program meets the eligibility requirements, you will be awarded funds.

I am a home-based (family or group family) provider. Am I eligible for a retention bonus?

Yes. Providers are eligible to receive a workforce retention bonus as long as they

  • have an active child caring role (provide direct supervision to unrelated children)
  • have worked an average of 15 hours per week at minimum between 1/1/23 and 06/26/23, and
  • meet other eligibility criteria.

How do I know if my program is eligible to apply for the OCFS Workforce Retention Grant?

The Workforce Retention Grant program is for eligible New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) licensed/registered

  • Day Care Centers (DCC)
  • Family Day Care Homes (FDC)
  • Group Family Day Care Homes (GFDC)
  • School-Age Child Care Programs (SACC)
  • Small Day Care Centers (SDCC)
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) permitted Article 47 Group Day Care Centers (GDC)

To receive Workforce Retention Grant payments, you must apply before Sept. 15, 2023, and be able to confirm all the following eligibility criteria:

  • You have an active license, registration, or permit to provide child care.
  • You are currently open (or plan to be open during the first full week of school instruction, if you are an SACC program) and “in good standing.”
  • You must have at least one child in your care who is not related to the provider or their employees on the date of application and on dates of future disbursements.

I am a home-based provider and I don’t have any staff. Am I eligible for a staff retention bonus?

Yes, you may be eligible to pay yourself a bonus, even if you are the only one working for your program. Your program must meet all program eligibility requirements, and you as the staff person must meet all staff eligibility requirements in order to receive a bonus.

How much funding is my program eligible to receive?

Staff retention bonuses: $3,000 per eligible staff member (or $2,300 per eligible SACC staff)

Payroll tax assistance: $230 per eligible staff member (or $176 per eligible SACC staff)

Staff recruitment: $6,000 per program (or $2,000 for group family day care programs and $1,000 for family day care programs)

When and how will my program receive funding?

OCFS intends to provide the first payment within 30 days after an approved application. All child care programs must have a verified Statewide Financial System (SFS) ID or submit an electronic W-9 form with their application to receive payment.

Programs must provide at least 50% of the staff retention payments to all eligible staff within 45 days of receiving the first payment from the grant. The remaining funds must be distributed to eligible staff within 90 days of receiving the staff retention funding.

How do I know which staff members are eligible for retention bonuses?

Staff eligible for the retention bonus must:

  • be employed at the program’s physical location
  • have an active child care role (provide direct supervision to unrelated children)
  • be paid through employer’s payroll with state/federal taxes withheld from paycheck
  • have worked an average of 15 hours per week at minimum (average of 10 hours at minimum for SACC) between 1/1/23 or start of employment and 6/26/23
  • have been fingerprinted with complete background information for at least provisional employment (if applicable) on or before 6/26/23

Consult this guidance from OCFS on how to determine staff eligibility.

How will grant funding affect my other benefits (such as the Housing Choice Voucher program, Medicaid, SNAP, etc)?

You can watch this OCFS “Impact to Benefits” webinar or consult the OCFS Impact to Benefits slide deck for more information on other benefits.