Spc. Shatyra Reed, a public affairs mass communication specialist with the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, and her daughter Amore Cox, pose for a photo in Fayetteville, N.C., April 25, 2019. Since 1986, April has been recognized as the Month of the Military Child, and is a time where service members and the community show their appreciation for military children by celebrating their service and constant resilience. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Hubert D. Delany III / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

By Morgan Brill, Child Care Aware of America

There are more than 1.6 million children whose parents serve in the United States military, who move, on average every two to three years. Caring for a child while serving in the military can be difficult, particularly when you’re facing a change of service. That’s why during April, the Month of the Military Child, we’re highlighting the resources that are out there to help you tackle one of the tougher problems you may face while raising military children: finding child care.

When you’re looking for child care, you want to find a program that’s convenient, open when you need it, and within your budget. Finding a child care program that makes sure your child is safe, healthy and educational must also be a priority. Finding child care that meets your needs can be difficult, whether you are a new parent, recently moved to a new area, or wondering what options are available to you and your family.

High-quality early childhood care and education is a critical resource for military families. The Department of Defense has prioritized and invested significant resources to ensure access through subsidized rates, quality teachers, enforcement of strong standards and help to meet those standards.

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is proud to partner with the United States Military and the U.S. Department of Defense to serve and support families through the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) Fee Assistance and Respite Child Care Programs, In-Home Child Care (IHCC) fee assistance pilot program and MCCYN-PLUS initiative (includes community child care programs that are quality rated by their state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). To learn about child care supports for military families, visit our website. Military families can also view all the high-quality early childhood care options available at MilitaryChildCare.com.

If your branch of the military is part of the Military/Department of Defense fee assistance program administered by CCAoA, you can find information through CCAoA, such as:

  • Referrals to local child care providers
  • Information on where to get help paying for child care
  • Help desk support answered by experts

If you do not qualify for the various fee assistance programs, or if you do and you are looking for additional help or have questions about child care in your area, you can receive assistance with child care by contacting a local Child Care Resource and Referral agency (CCR&R). CCAoA partners with over 500 CCR&Rs across the country to help families get free local child care information that you need no matter where you live. CCR&Rs increase access to high-quality, affordable child care by serving as a resource hub for families, child care professionals and communities. You can connect to your local CCR&R by visiting CCAoA’s CCR&R Search page.

Like the CCAoA-administered fee assistance program, CCR&Rs provide many different services depending on where you live, including child care referrals and other parenting supports, child care provider training and technical assistance and other efforts to increase the quality and availability of child care.

For example, PATCH, the local CCR&R agency in Hawaii, offers support to military families that are seeking child care to help meet their unique needs. Their free services provide families with a child care referral list of licensed and registered providers that are either close to their home or to their work. In addition, they provide a quality child care program to Navy families with a child with special needs through the Exceptional Family Member Respite Care Program.

In San Diego, the YMCA Childcare Resource Service has provided CCR&R services at no cost to families across the county for over 40 years. Their child care consultants can help military and civilian families find the best solution for their family and provide useful tips on choosing quality child care and help with reviewing child care options.

We’re here to help you find the child care solutions that work for your family. Locate the CCR&R in your community to help your family with all your child care needs. To learn more about your state child care resources, visit CCAoA’s Child Care Resource and Referral search tool.