The Defense Department child care systems include more than 600 child development centers, school-age care facilities and about 1,100 family child care homes at more than 230 locations worldwide. All are required to adhere to DoD regulations. These programs are nationally recognized for their quality, and programs meet strict standards for curriculum, safety and health. Fees are on a sliding scale based on total family income.
Any family child care provider on an installation who offers child care for other families' children for 10 or more hours per week must be certified through installation officials. Families can get lists of certified family child care homes at their installation's child development program office. They can also find certified family day care homes through the official DoD website. That DoD site gives parents more visibility over what child care slots are available at multiple installations in a given area, and allows them to register and apply for child care in advance.
Military families can also find high-quality, subsidized child care in their local civilian community if care is not available on base. Families must register at the same DoD site for fee assistance through this program, operated through the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. For more information, visit this site.
DoD and the services are looking at new ways to ease the child care shortage, such as streamlining the hiring process for child care workers. As of June 1, working military families will get higher priority in child care programs under a new policy signed by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The policy also allows officials to displace children who are already in a child development program, whose parents are in a lower priority category, if the military family is expected to be on a wait list for more than 45 days after the time they need care.
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