Child Care Closures – What Child Care Programs and Parents Need to Know
After Governor Murphy’s COVID-19 Executive Order of March 25, 2020

Governor Murphy has ordered all child care centers that are not serving essential workers to close down by April 1, 2020. If you are a child care center that decides to stay open after April 1, 2020, you must commit to providing services to only essential workers and follow all applicable emergency child care standards by completing the Application for Continued Operation Child Care Services During Public Health Emergency by THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020.

Child care centers interested in remaining open
If you are a child care center that would like to remain open to provide services to essential workers as of April 1, 2020, you must apply to the Department of Children and Families by Friday, March 27, 2020. You can find the application here.

Once you are approved to remain open as of April 1, 2020 to serve essential workers, you must follow Health and Safety Guidelines from the Department of Children and Families found here.

If you do not apply to remain open for essential workers by Friday, March 27, 2020, you must close your center by April 1, 2020.

Child care centers that must close by April 1st
All child care centers who have not completed the above application and been approved by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to serve only children of essential workers, including licensed child care centers and  –

  • School-operated programs
  • Drop-in programs
  • Day camps
  • Religious education programs

Child care programs that may remain open after April 1st without completing the application process

  • Family child care homes serving five children or fewer
  • Child care centers operating on federal property, such as those located on military installations
  • Child care programs funded or licensed to provide specialized care to youth with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities
  • Child care centers approved by DCF to serve only essential workers

For Parents
If you are an essential worker and in need of child care you can contact your county’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) to find nearby child care centers that will remain open. A list of CCR&Rs can be found here or you can call the Child Care Helpline at 1-800-332-9227.

What workers are considered essential workers?
Essential workers include:

  • Health care workers, including staff working in health care facilities and in community-based services including home health and behavioral health
  • Law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency services personnel, and staff at correctional facilities
  • Individuals employed at operating child care centers as of April 1, 2020
  • Staff working for entities that provide essential social services including, but not limited to group home and shelter staff
  • Essential government employees who are unable to work from home, including child protection services workers, child welfare workers, foster care workers, unemployment compensation processing staff, and public health employees
  • Certain critical workers, as defined by the Commissioner of DCF, as essential retail businesses, as defined by Executive Order No. 107 (2020) and subsequent Administrative Orders

Other resources
Frequently Asked Questions on Emergency Child Care for Child Care Programs and Parents

COVID-19 Resources for Licensed Childcare

Continue to Visit ACNJ for the latest updates related to COVID-19.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey | 35 Halsey Street Newark, New Jersey 07102

Questions? Email us at or call us at  (973) 643-3876.

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