MilitaryChildCare.com (MCC) is a Department of Defense website for military families seeking child care. This site will allow families to search for and request care from a wide range of military operated and military subsidized child care options across all Services to include Child Development Centers, School Age Programs, and Family Child Care Homes. Additional benefits from Child and Youth Programs (CYP) are standardized procedures for effective waiting list management, expedited placement of children and youth into available programs, and enhanced daily operations for programs.
The program’s costs of operating the center do not decrease when one or more children are absent in a room. Unless at least half of the children are absent, the same number of staff must be present to ensure the health and safety of the children. The fees collected from parents are used to pay the care giving staff and those costs do not decrease because of the absence of a few children.
There are several reasons why the fees at some off-base centers may be lower than the Air Force child development or school age programs. Many off-base centers do not provide infant and toddler care or, if they do, provide only a few spaces for these age groups. These age groups are the most expensive to provide care because caregivers can care for fewer children. Most Air Force centers devote up to half (or more) of their spaces to infants and toddlers, therefore, the overall cost of operating is higher. Secondly, staff:child ratios (the number of children for whom one caregiver can provide care) are different. In many states, the number of children per caregiver is much higher than the Air Force considers necessary to provide good care for children. Finally, off-base centers may pay low wages and not be concerned about high staff turnover; some off-base centers pay minimum wage and have very high staff turnover. The Air Force believes it is important for children to be taken care of by the same caregiver from day-to-day. The caregiver gets to know the child, establishes an emotional bond, and is more aware when the child is coming down with a potentially life-threatening illness. Paying caregivers enough to minimize staff turnover reduces the amount the Air Force has to spend recruiting, screening, and training caregivers and saves parent’s money in the long run.
Caring for children is an expensive service because it is labor intensive, especially, for infants and toddlers. Over 50% of the total cost of providing child care and 95% of the cost paid by parents is for caregivers. Child care fees include 10 meals and up to 10 snacks per week. The actual cost of the child care part of the fees (not counting the value of the meals and snacks) is less than $3.00 per hour for those in Category IX.
Families will be charged the highest weekly fee.
The May 2014 Application for Department of Defense (DoD) Child Care Fees, DD Form 2652, or electronic equivalent will be used to verify total family income (TFI) as defined in Department of Defense Instructions (DoDIs) 6060.02. For the purposes of determining child care fees in the Department of Defense Child Development Programs, TFI is defined as all earned income including wages, salaries, tips, special duty pay (flight pay, active duty demo pay, sea pay), active duty save pay, long-term disability benefits, voluntary salary deferrals, retirement or other pension income including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) paid to the spouse/partner and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits paid to the surviving spouse before deductions for taxes using the individual’s most recent W-2 or Leave and Earning Statement. TFI calculations must also include quarters subsistence and other allowances appropriate for the rank and status of military or civilian personnel whether received in cash or in-kind. Programs should not include alimony, child support received by the custodial parent, SSI received on behalf of the dependent child, reimbursements for educational expenses or health and wellness benefits, cost of living (COLA) received in high cost areas, temporary duty allowances, or reenlistment bonuses. Do not include cash awards, bonuses, or overtime pay in TFI calculation. TFI includes the appropriate Non-Locality Basic Allowance for Housing with Dependents Rate (BAH Reserve Component/Transit (RC/T)) for all members, regardless of whether they live in government housing or off-installation. Programs will use the local BAH rate in locations where military members receive less than the BAH RC/T allowance. For dual-military living in government quarters, include BAH RC/T of the senior member only; for Defense civilian OCONUS, include either the housing allowance or the value of the in-kind housing provided. Note that the BAH RC/T rate is based on the calendar year. Programs will use the appropriate year’s rate when calculating fees.
Rather than basing the fees on military rank, the fees are based on a family’s ability to pay. Total family income is a better yardstick since it takes into consideration all income available to pay the child care bill. Additionally one of the purposes of the military child care program is to improve the economic viability of military families. Those families with the lowest incomes are those most in need of assistance with their child care expenses.
Fees are based on a typical Monday–Friday operation which hours total 50 or more. SAC fees are adjusted based on the number of program hours provided. Meals (breakfast, lunch and a snack) are included.
The fees are set by DoD to pay approximately half of the total cost of providing the care. The Military Child Care Acts of 1989/1996 directed parents to pay approximately half of the cost of care. Fees are set high enough to only cover the costs not paid for by the taxpayers.