On March 25, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 110 (EO 110), which mandates the closing of all childcare centers operating in New Jersey unless they are certified as emergency childcare centers and agree to “provide child care services exclusively to ‘essential persons’ during the school closure period.” Any childcare center requesting permission to operate as an emergency childcare center must submit a certification to the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) by March 27, 2020. Any childcare center that fails to submit a certification must close on April 1, 2020, “and remain closed through the school closure period.”
The certification form can be accessed via DCF’s website. The commissioner of DCF will notify centers of certification decisions by March 30, 2020.
Any childcare center whose certification request is approved may continue operating on and after April 1, 2020. These centers must abide by DCF’s Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities, which advances, among other things, social-distancing strategies and good hygiene practices.
All entities providing care to children up to 13 years of age are subject to EO 110, “including licensed childcare centers . . . and those entities normally except from [licensing requirements].” However, EO 110 does not apply to “programs funded or licensed by the DCF, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, or the Department of Education,” or to family daycare provides with five or fewer children.
The following is a list of the “essential persons” who may utilize these emergency childcare centers for their children during the school closure period:
- 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 emergency child care centers operating on or after 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
- Certain critical workers, as defined by the Commissioner of DCF, at essential retail businesses as defined in Executive Order No. 107 (2020) and subsequent Administrative Orders
This list may be amended by the commissioner of DCF in consultation with the State Director of Emergency Management.