How to Become a Child Development Home Provider

Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Child Development Center hosts a Month of the Military Child parade. (Navy Photo)
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads Child Development Center hosts a Month of the Military Child parade. (Navy Photo)

Among the finest-trained members of the Navy and Marine Corps family are the Navy's Child Development Home (CDH) and the Marine Corps' Family Child Care (FCC) providers, who guard and care for the nation's most precious resource -- our children.

Childcare providers offer warm and loving homes for children and assure Navy and Marine Corps parents that their children are in a safe and happy environment while they are serving their country. The CDH program, an element of Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR), is available to anyone interested in becoming a home childcare provider.

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How to Apply for CDH Certification

The Navy's CDH program provides the training to obtain approval of the commanding officer and certification for anyone establishing a childcare business in their government quarters or in an off-base, privately owned or leased home. To become a CDH provider, you must submit to a medical screening, complete an application packet, provide three references, and undergo extensive background checks.

The CDH director will conduct a family interview in your residence. This interview is a crucial step in the certification process as you, your family and the director openly discuss childcare beliefs and practices, as well as the implications of establishing a childcare business in your home. The interview is also an excellent time to ask questions of the director before making a final commitment to becoming a provider.

Once you are committed to becoming a child development home provider, you must complete a free, 20-hour training program that focuses on developmentally appropriate childcare practices, child abuse, CPR training, discipline techniques and small business course work. The training also provides an excellent opportunity for the providers to share information and establish a support network. To view an online support network, go to the National Network for Child Care website.

After you are certified as a CDH provider, you are required to attend monthly meetings and will receive monthly supportive home visits from the CDH director. Providers who transfer to a new command should contact the CDH director for re-certification requirements.

Financial Aspects of Providing Childcare in Your Home

There are financial considerations when beginning a small business like home childcare. The largest initial investment is liability insurance, which is mandatory for all CDH providers. Once you are certified, you may participate in the Navy's commercial insurance program, which offers insurance at a much lower cost than civilian companies.

Items purchased for your childcare business are tax deductible. However, many CDH programs have a lending closet full of items that you may borrow to help defer start-up expenses.

Providers are responsible for purchasing USDA-approved food for the children. As an incentive to participate in their program, the USDA provides cash reimbursements to those providers that participate.

The final financial consideration is the fee for services, which is negotiated between you and the parents of the children you care for, with guidance from the CDH program. There are strict guidelines that determine how many children may be cared for in a home. Children-to-adult ratios should be considered when determining financial gain.

The CDH office is located in the Navy Community Center, 279 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 12866. The office telephone and fax numbers are (518) 584-3579 and (518) 584-1576, respectively.

The Marine Corps FCC is located at MCB Quantico. Their address, telephone and fax numbers are: HQMC, Personal and Family Readiness Division (MRY), 3280 Russell Road, Quantico, VA 22134 Ph. 703-784-9553, Fax 703-784-9821, DSN 278-9553.

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