Office of Children and Family Services


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Children and Family Services
Child Care Licensing and Inspection

Issued: August 14, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-S-66

To determine if the Office of Children and Family Services’ (Office) child care licensing and inspection activities ensure licensed and registered child care facilities are in compliance with applicable laws and are safe for children. Our audit covered the period January 1, 2012 through May 9, 2014.

The Office's mission is to promote the well-being and safety of the State's children, families, and communities. The Office's Division of Child Care Services (Division) is responsible for overseeing child care services in the State, with the exception of day care centers in New York City (NYC). The Division regulates and inspects child care providers and, in doing so, helps protect the health and safety of children by verifying that their care providers comply with the minimum standards established by NYS Social Services Law (Law) and Office regulations.

In New York State, persons caring for fewer than three children within home settings are considered "license exempt" and are not subject to licensure by or registration with the Office. Based on Section 390 of the Law, facilities that provide care for three or more children for more than three hours per day per child are subject to licensure or registration with the State. The Division regulates these facilities either through licensing processes for the day care centers and group family day care homes, or through registration processes for the small day care centers, family day care homes and school aged child care centers.

Key Findings

  • The Office's licensing and inspection activities assure licensed and registered child care facilities are in compliance with applicable laws and are safe for children.
  • Although the Office investigates complaints about unlicensed or unregistered child care providers, it does not have proactive measures in place to identify illegal child care providers and otherwise mitigate illegal operations, which could place children in child care at an increased risk of harm.

Key Recommendation

  • Institute policies and procedures to proactively identify and mitigate illegal child care operations.

    Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

    Office of Children and Family Services: Adoption Subsidy Program (2008-S-106)
    Office of Children and Family Services:  Maintenance and Tuition Payments to The Lake Grove School and Mountain Lake Children’s Residence (2009-S-90)

    State Government Accountability Contact Information:
    Audit Director: John Buyce
    Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email:
    Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236