Military Gets Free Assistance Finding Child Care

free child care program for military families

Military Gets Free Assistance Finding Child Care

The demands of military service pose unique challenges when it comes to raising kids. Covid-19 has added another layer of challenges. Whether your family is preparing for a deployment, resettling after a PCS move, moving your child into new age level of care, or are among the many parents who’ve lost their place in a familiar daycare or youth center because pandemic-related health requirements have left fewer spaces available, you need to choose a care option that gives you peace of mind.

In addition to finding a program that’s convenient, open when you need it, and within your budget, you need to know your child is safe, happy, and learning.

DOD Program Helps Military Parents Find Child Care Solutions

Fortunately, as of August 10th, 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD) brought back its program to provide a secure and reliable way for military parents to find pre-screened child care solutions. This benefit is available through Military OneSource, in cooperation with Sittercity, a nationally recognized online service that helps families to find, hire, and pay for child care. Sittercity services can be accessed 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world.

To be clear, this benefit does not pay for the child care through the site. It pays for the subscription to the service that provides connections to available child care providers.  According to information on Sittercity.com, parents normally pay $35 a month for the subscription; $49 for three months; or $98 for 12 months.

This monthly subscription service offers a user-friendly way to explore providers who can assist with hourly, flexible, and on-demand child care services and remote schooling support. It’s also a great resource in the event you need last-minute care.

What Does the Subscription Provide?

  • Search based on your own needs and criteria
  • Find potential care providers
  • Check references
  • Review background checks
  • Interview caregivers

In addition to providing access to child care providers, this site gives you access to look for senior care, pet-sitting, and housekeeping services.

You can connect with this service online or by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647

Who is Eligible for this Benefit?

  • Active Duty
  • National Guard
  • Reservist families
  • Surviving spouses
  • Medically discharged troops and their families
  • Military retirees and former troops up until 365 days after their last day of service.

Although the Military OneSource site states that the benefit is only available to Coast Guard families on Title X orders, multiple Coast Guard spouses who tried access the free membership without that status have reportedly been able to do so.

The DOD has not yet announced how long this benefit will be available.

Even if think you won’t need childcare, military life means preparing for the unexpected.  Don’t wait to find a sitter.  If you have general questions about child care programs, you can explore a variety of options including:

  • Child Development Centers (CDC) for children ages six weeks to five years.
  • School-age Care programs (SAC) for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
  • Programs for children with special needs.

If you prefer to have your child looked after in a home environment, you can request help finding a Family Child Care (FCC). These state-licensed households provide care for children 2 months to 12 years of age.

Additional Child Care Resources

  • For help finding child care outside the U.S. visit: Military childcare.com.
  • For Information about military child care fee assistance visit: Child Care Aware.
  • To stay on top of Covid-19 child care-related reopening and regulations click here.
  • To connect with Sittercity on social media go to:

https://www.facebook.com/sittercity

https://twitter.com/sittercity

https://www.instagram.com/sittercity/

 

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About the author

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Caroline Sposto is a writer, actor, and the founder of Savvy Civility, an educational company that specializes in civilian role play training. She has a passion for the arts, education, and small business.