Journal Issue: Caring for Infants and Toddlers Volume 11 Number 1 Spring/Summer 2001
Developing a Seamless Child Care System
The children in military families are served through a delivery system that includes child development centers, networks of family child care homes operated in government housing units and off base, and programs for school-age children. Many military bases also have outreach programs that provide on-site care during special functions, sponsor playgroups, and refer families to accredited child care programs in the civilian community. This delivery system is seamless, meaning there is a single point of entry to access care. Parents find care through a resource and referral office that manages waiting lists for all the types of care and projects future demand by families anticipating a move or a new baby.
Military child care programs offer services on different schedules as well. Full-day care is provided for working and student parents; part-day care is available for those with shift work or part-time schedules; and hourly care can be used during official functions, medical appointments, while preparing to move, or while parents are volunteering on the base. Occasional care offers respite to parents under stress, at social functions, on errands, as well as at a "parent's night out." Extended hours, around-the-clock, and long-term care options offer critical support to parents who must leave home to meet the military mission—nearby or far away.