Salute to Spouses Blog

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Have job, need childcare

For some military spouses, finding a job at a new duty station may be the easy part. It is finding reliable, safe childcare that causes stress, worry and even panic.

Military childcare facilities on base fill fast. Waiting lists can be months long. And unfortunately when federal budget cuts are made, childcare is often one of the first perks to be cut.

Outside the gate childcare rates can soar far above the cost of placing your child with a provider on base. Child Care Aware of America works with the Department of Defense to provide child care fee assistance to military families as part of the Military Child Care Act of 1989. The program is designed to help offset the cost of child care for families who are unable to receive care on base.

Child Care Aware has assisted more than 10 million families and has a network of more than 10,000 licensed providers across the U.S.

There are different requirements for each branch of the Department of Defense to qualify for the program. To see those requirements, visit here:

The Navy and Air Force program also provide respite care for families that are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member program. The Marines offers care for families of service members killed in action.

The eligibility requirements are included on the page for each service, as are the list of documents you will need to gather to apply. Fees are calculated on a sliding scale. Parents will be required to pay a portion of the cost and the remaining fee is paid through funds authorized by Congress.

The only other DOD agency that qualifies for the program is the Geospatial-Intelligence Agency whose employees can also apply for fee assistance. Currently no employees of the Department of Homeland Security, including Coast Guard members, are included in the program.

Instead, Coast Guard families may qualify for child care fee assistance under the U.S. Coast Guard Childcare Subsidy Program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eligibility requirements and application pages can be found here:

Need to know more? Call Child Care Aware before applying at 800-424-2246 (option 6).

For Military Spouses
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