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Free Childcare for National Guard On Its Way

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Pilot Program for Free Childcare Will Improve the Lives of National Guard Families

If you are in the National Guard in the following states you may soon be able to receive free childcare during your drill weekend.

  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • Washington

According to an article on Military.com, there will be a new pilot program that will provide free childcare during drill weekends to the guard in those six states. This has come about because of the Army’s new updated policies for parents.

Difficulty Finding Childcare During Drill Weekends

As a national guard family, finding affordable childcare during a drill weekend can be difficult. The kids are not in school, and their choices might be limited. Often drill weekends do not occur at the best times or can be changed from the original schedule with short notice. This puts pressure on the spouse and can lead to frustrating childcare stress.

According to the article, the Director of Manpower and Personnel Maj. Gen. Eric Little stated that a “lack of weekend drill child care is impacting soldier retention.” We all know childcare is a big issue for military families in general, and it appears it is affecting the retention rates of those staying in the national guard.

“Lack of weekend drill child care is impacting soldier retention.” – Director of Manpower and Personnel Maj. Gen. Eric Little

How Does the Free Childcare Pilot Program Work?

According to the memo cited in the article, enrollment for the pilot program is set for Sep 1st.

Here is a breakdown of how this pilot program will work according to the article:

  • This program will be for guardsmen with children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years.
  • The guardsman’s spouse, significant other, or another adult that lives in the house will need to be unavailable because of work.

This means that free childcare isn’t just for a spouse needing a break. It is because they do have to go to work when their service member needs to drill.

  • Enrollment for the pilot program should begin on 9/1/22.
  • Childcare should start for November 2022 drills.
  • Guardsmen will need to be in good standing with their command and will need to be verified by their commander.
  • The free childcare will be through Child Care Aware of America.
  • The guardsman will need to re-register every month but will only need to be verified every three months.
  • Guardsmen will need to verify their spouse’s employment.

This is being funded through the National Guard Bureau.

This program is going to be a needed change. It will allow military spouses to be able to pursue jobs for their own career paths even when those monthly drills can interfere with their work schedule. This will allow spouses who have turned down jobs or other opportunities in the past because of a lack of childcare to be able to now say yes.

Hopefully, this program will expand to all states to benefit guard members nationwide.

 

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.