DoD changes child care fee policy
July 30, 2010
The Department of Defense announced today the school year 2010/2011 child care fee policy. The policy will adjust fee ranges in child care programs across the services and will be implemented no later than Sept. 30, 2010. Changes will impact families who have children enrolled in DoD child development centers and school age care programs.
The DoD broadened child care fee ranges from six to nine categories, raised the income cap on each fee range, and established the top earning range at $125,000 a year and above for a more equitable policy.
Previously, families earning more than $70,000 a year and above all paid the same fee for child care. Under the new policy, families will see either a small decrease or increase in their fees depending on their total family income. Families earning $85,000 and below will experience relatively minimal changes. Each military service will provide fee guidelines specific to their installations.
"This is the first time in six years that the Defense Department has adjusted fee ranges," said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy under secretary of defense, military community and family policy. "The action follows an in-depth study that determined that fee ranges were no longer in sync with the total family income for the majority of program users. As a result of this adjustment, we broadened and added income ranges to achieve greater equity within our military community."
The fee policy represents a balanced solution to the issue of adjusting fees to pay caregiver salaries while limiting the financial impact on the family. Competitive salaries help to recruit and retain quality staff. Retaining high quality staff contributes to continuity of care.
"Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of the military children entrusted to our care is a number one priority," said Gordon. "We are committed to high quality care for our military children, which includes attracting talented child care staff whose compensation is competitive with the civilian sector."
Ninety-eight percent of DoD's child development centers are nationally accredited compared to eight to 10 percent of community childcare centers. National accreditation means a commitment of providing high quality services, including a developmentally appropriate curriculum, a healthy and safe environment, sufficient number of adults per children in group sizes appropriate for children's ages; and strong communication between staff and families.
"Child care is a readiness issue," Gordon said. "We will continue striving to provide quality care to support our working parents."
For specific information about the installation fees, parents are encouraged to contact their local child development center and school-age care program.