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Department of the Air Force
2650 Spaatz Drive
Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706
The Department of Defense takes great pride in the variety and quality of services provided to children and youth on installations worldwide. While the services provided may vary by location, the standards and quality of services are consistent and meet established regulations.
Military families may request child care by visiting MilitaryChildCare.com. This Defense Department online request for care system serves military families worldwide who are seeking child care through child development centers, school-age care programs and DOD certified family child care providers. Families may search for and request care, manage their requests, and update their profile online, simplifying the process for finding child care.
Child care fee assistance is available for eligible families through Child Care Aware® of America. This national organization is contracted to administer the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood programs, MCCYN and MCCYN-PLUS. These Defense Department programs provide fee assistance to qualifying families who are unable to access installation child care. Visit ChildCareAware.org and select your service branch to learn more about military child care programs in your neighborhood.
Child development centers, or CDCs, generally offer child care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Care is available Monday through Friday, with some locations offering options such as extended hours, weekend care and respite care. Child development centers vary in size and larger installations may operate multiple facilities. Programs are certified by the Defense Department and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Military families may request child care by visiting MilitaryChildCare.com.
Children, infants to 12 years of age, may receive care in the private home of a certified family child care provider living in government-owned or government-leased housing on or off the installation. FCC providers typically offer a flexible schedule to support parents with a variety of care needs, including full-day, part-day care, school year care, summer camp, and in some cases, 24/7 and extended care. Family child care may also be referred to as family home day care, child development home, and family day care.
Regulations limit the number of children who receive care at any one time to no more than six children under 8 years old, and no more than two children under 2 years old. Family child care providers must be certified by the installation to operate. Individual providers may voluntarily seek national accreditation from the National Association of Family Child Care and are provided local support, training and materials to accomplish this goal.
Subsidies may be available in some family child care homes to assist in the reduction of child care fees beyond what would be paid in the child development center. For more information on fee assistance and subsidies for child care providers, visit ChildCareAware.org.
School-age care programs provide care to children in kindergarten through seventh grade. Care is offered before and after school, and during non-school days (e.g. spring break and teacher work days) and summer vacations. School-age care programs may be located in Defense Department youth centers, school age care facilities, child development centers or in other suitable facilities. All programs are certified by the DOD and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the Council on Accreditation.
Through Military OneSource, military families now have free access to an online database of more than a million caregivers so they can find hourly, flexible, and on-demand child care. This nationally recognized subscription service lets families search based on their own needs and criteria, find potential caregivers, check references and review background checks. They can even interview caregivers through the service. It’s easy to access and is an online solution that allows parents to choose, hire and pay caregivers on their terms.
Parents use their Military OneSource account to set up their free access to the child care service. They log in to their existing account or create an account to get a unique subscription code and establish their child care service account.
The Defense Department is dedicated to helping meet the diverse and growing child care needs of military families. For more information about available resources, visit the Military OneSource Child Care Programs page.
Dynamic programs for youth ages 5 to 18 years are provided in military youth and teen program facilities worldwide. A wide variety of offerings includes activities in health and wellness, sports and recreation, the arts, education and career development, and leadership and service. Installation programs may also collaborate with other youth-serving organizations, like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and USDA 4-H programs. Programs and services vary by installations, so contact your installation youth programs/center for local information.