FCC provides quality care, employment prospects
Gabriel Apodaca plays with provider, Cetoria Stanpley, at her home Aug. 19.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 22, 2013) -- The Family Child Care program offers a way for Families to find quality child care providers who welcome children into their homes and offer safe child care services.

The FCC offers patrons a "warm, Family atmosphere to meet their child care needs," where children are cared for in a home on post, said Pam Williams, child, youth and school services director.

"The program differs from the child development center because the FCC is a home-like setting run by Families on post," she said.

FCC providers offer care for children ranging in age from 4 weeks to 12 years old, and each home is allowed two children under the age of 2, and four children 2 and older.

"They are fed and have outdoor as well as indoor activities to promote learning and exercise," said Williams. "Providers also receive a monthly program guide to assist them in planning activities that will enhance the growth and development of the children."

FCC providers can work regular work week hours as well as weekend shifts and night shifts to cover the needs of training and working Soldiers and those employed by the Army. Positions are also available for full day, hourly, emergency, before and after school, overnight care and special needs, said Vender Tabb, school age center director.

The program also serves to employ Family members and is considered a private, home business for those who decide to become a provider.

"Becoming a provider is a good employment opportunity because people can stay at home with their own children, and help out Soldiers and their Families while they work," said Williams. "But, the Army wants the highest quality of care for its Soldier's children, so this is not for someone who is not sure of what they are doing.

"It's also another means of income. They get reimbursed for the meals they provide for the children," she continued. "And it is a way to build professional status. Providers can attain child development associate credentials -- skills they can take with them when they move."

Williams described the homes as "warm" and "friendly," adding that it can be a better, "more intimate" choice for some parents.

"It can be more convenient if there is a FCC down the street," she said. "Plus, some parents, and children, like that siblings can stay together because our homes are a multi-age environment. They can play together, grow together and learn together.

"Also, some parents may like the fact they know the one person personally who is watching their child, as opposed to multiple people," she added. "And those children almost become a part of the provider's extended Family."

Cetoria Stanpley, who has been a provider off and on for 13 years said that she loves getting attached to the children she cares for.

"I love being with the children," she said. "It's nice to help out the Soldiers while they are at work. They know their kids are safe."

Currently six houses on post provide in-home care, so there is plenty of space for new providers.

Applicants must fill out an application packet at the FCC office in Bldg. 132. Depending on the background check, it takes anywhere from a few weeks to more than a month for an applicant to be approved.

Applicants then must complete 40 hours of orientation training in child development and must adhere to fire, health and safety requirements and inspections. Multiple additional elements must be completed before a home can be approved.

"Once providers are certified, they must complete a total of 13 modules in child development, two modules on child abuse identification, reporting and prevention, and an additional 10 special-needs care modules," said Tabb.

Once everything is complete, Tabb said that providers will receive a Rainbow, which is a "decal they must put in their window to signal that they are approved FCC providers."

When providers first enter the FCC program they receive a start-up kit that consists of items such as fire extinguishers, safety latches, door knob covers, a first aid kit, lock boxes for medicine and outlet covers, said Williams, so parents know that child safety is the No. 1 priority.

Training for prospective providers occurs quarterly and by demand. To begin the process of becoming an FCC provider, or to enroll a child, call 255-3446.

Page last updated Thu August 22nd, 2013 at 14:31