JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. –
Quality care is important to any developing child, and military children are no exception. To help combat limited on-base child care, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling has opened the Family Child Care program.
FCC providers care for children in the provider’s home, which increases child care capacity for the JBAB community while simultaneously creating work-from-home employment opportunities.
“I love doing this because I get to stay home and watch my children grow and develop without needing to find childcare for them and a job for me,” said Amanda Wade, JBAB FCC provider.
Although Wade has been a certified provider for only five months, she understands the importance of the program.
“Child Development Centers are always full and daycares off base are very expensive. This is such a crucial need for our base,” said Wade.
Wade is the first certified FCC provider on JBAB, so her availability was quickly filled due to the base’s long child care waitlist.
“The CDC waitlist is so big, so I want the JBAB community to know how important the FCC program is and how many resources are available to help providers succeed,” said Tanya Meridith, JBAB Community Child Care coordinator.
In addition to financial compensation and one-on-one training, resources given to providers include cooking equipment, child-sized dining utensils and sleeping cots, baby gates, highchairs, toys for all ages and more. “If a provider needs it, I’ll get it,” said Meridith.
JBAB leadership aims to create a culture of connectivity, and that includes increasing child care accessibility for the base community.
“Our base’s history is unique and significant, and it’s important to emphasize efforts towards developing and rebuilding our installation to better support our mission, and most importantly, our people,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Catherine “Cat” Logan, JBAB and 11th Wing commander.
Although a maximum of six children under eight-years-old (including the provider’s) are authorized in each home, the children can benefit from more intimate care.
“The kids love the small-group environment,” said Wade. “The space may be smaller than the CDC, but I can tell some kids really like having limited social interaction, especially those who haven’t had much communication outside their own home since COVID.”
The cost of care-per-child is established by the provider, and it is often less than what is required by the CDC. They often earn more than that given by the family, however, due to the Air Force’s subsidy program which provides the cost-difference directly to the provider.
“I would rather a family pay less for child care and for me to receive additional funding from the subsidy, because I’m a mom of three and know how expensive quality child care costs,” said Wade.
The low-cost care for families and income earned by providers demonstrates how valuable the program is, but none are affected in a more positive way than the children being cared for.
“The women that I have are incredible, they really make the program a wonderful experience for the children,” said Meridith. “A second FCC provider completed training last week, but JBAB needs many more!”
The FCC program accepts providers of any gender, on or off base. For more information on becoming a provider or child care availability, visit militarychildcare.com or contact Tanya Meridith at email@example.com