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Family Matters Blog: Department to Adjust Child Care Fees

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2010 – When I was in the Air Force, I was always grateful for military child care, particularly when stationed overseas. As a single mother, it not only was affordable, but the best child care around.

Defense officials always have strived to keep child care costs low and quality high for our military parents.

To keep that quality high, officials have decided to adjust child care fees, mainly to compensate for six years without a fee range increase. The changes follow two years of study that determined the fees weren't in line with inflation and family income, explained Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy, Children and Youth.

"We understand that these are tough economic times for families, but we did this very deliberately after careful study," Thompson said in an American Forces Press Service article, "Child Care Fees Change to Maintain Quality Service," written by Lisa Daniel. "When you look at what you’re getting for your child care fees, it’s a wonderful opportunity in a high-quality care environment."

The change mainly affects higher-income earners, with the addition of three categories to the top of the fee schedule, which will go into effect by Sept. 30. Each service will determine its fee guidelines, including exceptions, and decide on fees within the ranges set by the Military and Community Family Policy Office.

Here is the new fee schedule:

- Category I: incomes of $29,400 or below – will pay between $44-$59 per week;

- Category II: incomes from $29,401 to $35,700 – will pay between $60-$74 per week;

- Category III: incomes from $35,701 to $46,200 – will pay between $75-$90 per week;

- Category IV: incomes from $46,201 to $57,750 – will pay between $91-$105 per week;

- Category V: incomes from $57,751 to $73,500 – will pay between $106-$121 per week;

- Category VI: incomes from $73,501 to $85,000 – will pay between $122-$130 per week;

- Category VII: incomes from $85,001 to $100,000 – will pay between $131-$133 per week;

- Category VIII: incomes from $100,001 to $125,000 – will pay between $134-$136 per week;

- Category IX: incomes of $125,001 or above – will pay between $137-$139 per week.

Additionally, officials will implement a high-cost option for the bases that meet certain criteria due to high cost of living.

For more on this topic, see the news release, "DOD Announces School Year 2010/2011 Child Care Fee Policy."

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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