Military Child Care (page 2)
The Department of Defense (DoD) military child development system (CDS) provides daily services for the largest number of children of any employer in the United States. Military child care is provided in eight hundred centers in more than three hundred geographic locations, both within and outside the continental United States.
Military families face challenges that are not found in other work environments. Shifting work schedules that are often longer than the typical eight-hour day and the requirement to be ready to deploy anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice require a child development system that is flexible in nature yet maintains high standards. Frequent family separations and the need to move, on average, every three years place military families in situations not often experienced in the civilian world. For this population, affordable, high-quality child care is paramount if they are to be ready to perform their missions and their jobs. It is also important to military personnel that child care services be consistent at installations throughout the military.
Four main components make up the DoD CDS: child development centers, family child care, school-age care, and resource and referral programs. Through these four areas, the DoD serves more than 200,000 children (ages six weeks to twelve years) daily. More than 48 percent of the care provided is for infants and toddlers. The system offers full-day, part-day, and hourly (i.e., drop-in) child care; part-day preschool programs; before- and after-school programs for school-age children; and extended-hour care, including nights and weekends.
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