ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, March 2, 2007) - Child Care Centers run by the Defense Department were named number one in the United States for best standards and oversight yesterday by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

"We are pleased that this independent review of our child-care standards and oversight practices lead the nation," said Leslye A. Arsht, deputy under secretary of defense for the Military Community and Family Policy. "The report findings reflect a great deal of hard work and commitment to excellence within the Department of Defense."

The military child-care system offers full-day, part-day, and hourly child care; part-day preschools; before- and after-school programs for school-age children; and care in family child-care homes. More than 200 thousand children from 4 weeks of age to 13 years are cared for in more than 300 locations at worldwide installations each day.

The NACCRRA reviewed state child-care center policies and regulations for 50 states, the District of Columbia and DoD. The DoD child-care system stood alone, Arsht said, ranking number one on top-10 lists for best standards and best oversight practices. No state appears on both lists.

"This study is yet another affirmation the Military Child Care Program is a 'model for the nation,' and continues to meet the congressional intent that 'military child care be on the leading edge of child care in America,'" said M.A. Lucas, director of Child and Youth Services at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command in Alexandria, Va.

DoD achieves high standards of child care through adequate funding, strict oversight, continuous staff development, strong family involvement and a shared commitment to excellence, she added.

"It's not just about having standards. Having standards is the easy part," Lucas said. "The fact that garrisons implement and enforce these child-care standards consistently and predictably day after day, year after year, at each of our child-development centers is the difficult part. We know that the Army is successful in this because 97 percent of our CDCs are nationally accredited by an external professional organization, and these basic standards cited in the NACCRRA survey provide much of the framework needed for national accreditation."

(Margaret McKenzie writes for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.)

Page last updated Fri March 2nd, 2007 at 13:29