It was the very first thing I knew about military life, long before I even considered marrying into it -- it’s all about “hurry up and wait.”
And sure enough, that’s how it’s turned out to be. If it’s not my husband rushing around only to wait for something or another, it’s me and my son dashing to a place to get in a really long line or on a really long waiting list.
No surprise here, then, that affordable DoD sponsored childcare works the same way. Whether community-based or on post, the waiting lists are really long and the availability really slim.
It looks like the Defense Department is getting ready to do something about it. According to this American Forces Press Service story, they will early next year launch an initiative to expand community-based childcare options for military families -- both Active Duty and otherwise.
The shortage of approved off-base care is linked to a lack of facilities that meet national accreditation standards, without which the DoD will not give its approval and buy down the cost of care for military families.
The pilot program is aimed at increasing the number of accredited centers through partnerships with state officials. Once that happens DoD can look at putting them on the “approved” list.
Like most pilot programs, it is only being conducted in limited areas, so don’t look for this to be happening everywhere. They’ll be running this one in 13 states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
Since many of those are heavy military base states, if you are active-duty the chances of there being movement near you is pretty high. However, the article claims that this program is largely aimed at helping Reserve and Guard families. This list makes me wonder if their work may have been better aimed at states with less rather than more bases.