Furthering its commitment to provide additional child care options to meet the needs of service members and military families, the Department of Defense will initiate a new pilot program to grant fee assistance to military families for full-time, in-home child care providers.
The department recognizes that child care is a critical support for military families with children.
“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 support to families through a range of child care solutions. On-installation care is available 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 explore fee assistance for military families who have determined that full-time, in-home child care, such as nannies, is the best solution to fit their needs. The 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. This allows in-home providers to be used for rotating shifts and weekend care to meet the nontraditional schedules of military families.
“The Department of Defense is taking another important step to support families with child care solutions by piloting a program that explores the viability of providing fee assistance for full-time, in-home child care services,” said Patricia “Patty” Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “This is just one of many initiatives to increase access to affordable child care, including support provided for community-based fee assistance and hourly care. We understand the need is great, and the time is now.”
This pilot will be operated similarly to the child care fee assistance program currently in place for service members using community-based care facilities. 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 service member’s total family income. The administrator will also ensure providers successfully complete and maintain current background check requirements, as well as provide information on tax requirements to the parent who will be the employer of the in-home care provider or employee. Military parents who employ care providers in their home can reach out to Military OneSource tax consultants any time they have questions about these tax implications.
In its first year, the pilot will be offered in the five regions with the highest demand and longest waitlists for DoD-facilitated child care for our military families. These locations are 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 currently on the MilitaryChildCare.com 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 at MilitaryChildCare.com and submit their request for in-home care.
Families will be responsible for finding their own in-home care providers. They may use the expanded child care service available at no cost through Military OneSource to search for local providers. 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
Providers must 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. Learn more about In-Home Child Care Fee Assistance Pilot Program.
This pilot is in response to requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 21, Section 589, “Pilot Program to Provide Fee Assistance (In-Home Providers).” Lessons learned from the initial year of the pilot will be used to explore options for future expansion.
About Military Community and Family Policy
Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for establishing and overseeing quality-of-life policies and programs that help our service members, their families and survivors be well and mission-ready. Military OneSource is the gateway to programs and services that support the everyday needs of the 5.2 million service members and immediate family members of the military community. These DOD services can be accessed 24/7/365 around the world.