The Laws for Babysitting in New York Without a License

By Jessica McElrath - Updated January 29, 2018
Woman babysitting little girl in sunny park

Babysitters in New York are not required to obtain a license, and there is no minimum age someone must be in order to babysit. A babysitter is a person that cares for a child sporadically, and may or may not be paid.

A person is more than a babysitter, however, if he watches three or more children on a daily basis for more than three hours per day for compensation. In this case, the person must obtain a license to operate a day care facility, even if it occurs in his home.

Family Day Care Requirements

In New York, if you care for three to six children for money on a regular basis at a residence, you must register as a family day care. The children can range in age from six weeks to 12 years. The law prohibits the provider from caring for more than two children under the age of two at the same time. If all of the children are older than age two, the childcare provider can care for up to six children at the same time. In this situation, New York law allows the caregiver to care for two additional school-aged children who attend kindergarten or a grade higher, if the care is provided before or after school, on school holidays or during the time when school in not in session.

Group Family Day Care Requirements

If you care for seven to 12 children for money on a regular basis, you must register as a group family day care. The provider must have at least one assistant, and there must be one caregiver for every two children under age two. When a 2-year-old child is present, the maximum capacity is 10, but when all children present are at least age two, the maximum capacity is 12. The provider can care for two additional school-aged children who attend kindergarten or a grade higher when the care occurs before or after school, on school holidays and when school is not in session.

Registration Requirements

To operate a day care in New York, a provider must register with the Office of Children and Family Services. The agency will register a provider’s day care if the applicant complies with all of the regulations set out by law, which includes training requirements. If the applicant is unable to comply with a requirement, he can fulfill the requirement by obtaining a waiver. The registrar will come to the applicant’s home to inspect it to ensure that it meets safety requirements. The registration is valid for up to two years, and cannot be transferred to another person or moved to another residence.

Ongoing Notification Obligations

After a provider receives his registration, he must notify the state when certain changes occur. For instance, notification is required when a provider changes a portion of the residence that affects the childcare business, a person aged 18 or older moves into the home, the business expands hours of operation, or a child is seriously injured or dies while in the care of the provider.

About the Author

Jessica McElrath has been a freelance writer since 2000. McElrath is the author of "The Everything John F. Kennedy Book" and "The Everything Martin Luther King Jr. Book." McElrath has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.

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