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Military to launch pilot program that will provide fee assistance to families for in-home child care

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Posted at 5:46 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 08:20:11-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Department of Defense is initiating a new pilot program that will start in Norfolk and grant fee assistance to military families for full-time, in-home child care providers.

This program is for military families that need full-time, in-home child care, such as nannies.

“Our military parents cannot be focused and available for their mission without safe and reliable care for their children,” said Stacey Young, director of the office of military family readiness policy in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

The DOD currently provides a range of child care solutions, including, on-installation care at child development centers, certified family child care homes, and before- and after-school care programs. Other options include fee assistance for community-based child care and free access to a subscription service that connects families with flexible, hourly care.

The new pilot program will cover full-time care for a minimum of 30 hours to a maximum of 60 hours of child care weekly. Care is not limited to Monday through Friday or time of day. The DOD says this will allow in-home providers to be used for rotating shifts and weekend care to meet the nontraditional schedules of military families.

It will be run similarly to the current child care fee assistance program. A third-party administrator will be selected to oversee the program, verify service member and provider eligibility, and distribute fee assistance payments to approved providers of in-home care.

The amount of fee assistance provided is determined based on the family's income. The administrator will also ensure background check requirements are met and provide information on tax requirements to the parent who will be the employer of the in-home care provider or employee.

Along with Norfolk, in the program's first year, it will be offered in the five regions with the highest demand and longest waitlists for DoD-facilitated child care. These locations include the National Capital Region; Hawaii; San Diego, CA; Norfolk, VA; and San Antonio, TX.

Single or dual active duty and Guard or reserve service members on active duty, with a full-time working spouse or spouse enrolled full-time in a postsecondary institution that are currently on the waitlist in one of the five regions are eligible to participate. If families are not yet on the waitlist but need child care, they can create an account here and submit their request for in-home care.

Families will be responsible for finding their own in-home care providers. Families can click here to search for local childcare providers.

DOD says providers must be U.S. citizens and:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Read, speak, and write English

They must also successfully complete requirements for background checks and complete 32 hours of training, covering topics, including CPR and first aid, child abuse prevention, safe sleep, and care for children with special needs, if applicable.