CARES Child Care Scholarships to provide free child care to eligible essential workers

New York State has allocated funding for child care for essential workers at no cost to families. This allocation comes to the state from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which has provided New York with $163.6 million in emergency relief to the child care system. Essential workers using a regulated child care provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funds to support it are available. All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for the children of essential workers are able to participate in this program. 

If you meet the definition of an essential employee and have child care needs, click here to complete the scholarship application.

Brightside Up, the local child care resource and referral agency for the Capital Region, will follow up with families to gather additional information. Brightside Up will help families identify a participating child care provider or work with a family’s current child care provider to implement the scholarship.

The CARES Act Child Care Scholarship application will be considered complete once the online application is finished AND the required supplemental documentation is submitted to Brightside Up. Questions should be directed to Tricia Howland at Brightside Up via email at

Parents who currently receive subsidies from their local Department of Social Services to pay for child care are also eligible for this scholarship, which can cover the parent co-pay. Parents should apply for the CARES Act Scholarship, then contact their local Department of Social Services to obtain a letter that states their current co-pay amount.