Child care is an essential part of life, especially when one parent or both parents are members of the military. If this scenario applies to you, you may be wondering: Does the military pay for child care? Or, is there a way to get my expenses for child care on military bases covered?
The answer is, the military does not cover the full cost of child care. However, eligible servicemembers and their families can enroll in child care fee assistance programs. Read on to learn some of the financial assistance programs for child care on military bases and off.
Child Care Financial Assistance for Military Families
This website, run by the Department of Defense, provides families in any service branch with military-operated child care anywhere around the globe. MilitaryChildCare.com also offers a wide range of information for military families on accessible childcare programs worldwide.
Military families can browse through the variety of childcare programs until they find one that matches their unique needs. To enroll your child in one of the programs, simply submit a request through the website. All the childcare programs on this site use a sliding fee scale based on family income and the cost of child care. Whether you have a bunch of military kids or you’re a new military mom, there are many helpful programs available.
You can search for full- and part-time care. You can look for before- and after-school care. There is also information on summer and holiday camps. Whether you’re looking for child care on military bases or child care solutions off base, this is a great place to start your search.
2. Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood
This is another Department of Defense program. It’s designed to provide fee assistance to qualifying military families hoping to reduce the cost of childcare. This program helps offset costs with community childcare programs.
The Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) program also has an expanded MCCYN-PLUS program in certain locations where nationally accredited community-based childcare providers are available. In these locations, providers with a state quality improvement tier of three or higher are available for qualifying families.
Learn more about the MCCYN and MCCYN-Plus programs on the Child Care Aware of America site.
3. Military OneSource Hourly Childcare
You can gain free access to a national database full of over a million caregivers through Military OneSource. Search for hourly care, flexible care, on-demand care, and more. There are some eligibility requirements, but you can read all about those and learn how to register for expanded hourly child care options on the Military OneSource site.
4. In-Home Child Care Fee Assistance Program
The Department of Defense is committed to providing support to its servicemembers and all military families. One way that they’re doing this is by providing child care that fits each military family’s unique needs.
It was with this goal in mind that they initiated an In-Home Child Care Fee Assistance Program, offering fee assistance to families looking for full-time, in-home child care. It’s a new program and only available in a few places, so do your research to see if you live in a region where this program is available.
Lean on Your Military Community
As a spouse or military family you should never feel as though you have to tackle your lives alone. If the search for affordable child care is starting to make you feel overwhelmed and alone, look to your community.
Never be afraid to reach out to your fellow military spouses for advice. After all, who could understand your situation better than those who’ve navigated it themselves?
Get to know the military families who live near you and consider trading childcare, where you watch their kids some days and they watch yours on other days. This can be a great way to make childcare more affordable and parenting easier while you and your kids make friends.
While living a military life can be challenging, caring for your family shouldn’t be one of those challenges. Always feel good about accepting help.
Finding affordable, reliable child care on military bases or within your local community is achievable. Take full advantage of all the resources available to you and lean on the military family community for support and guidance.