Army spouse earns national child care accreditation
October 4, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- She is the first current family child care provider at Fort Sill to receive National Association of Family Child Care accreditation but she doesn't take all the credit.
Cynthia Sosa said her husband, Staff Sgt. Angel Sosa, a career Soldier with C Battery, 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery, helped her to achieve the accreditation.
Cynthia is one of the eight FCC providers who operate child care homes off-post, and 24 on-post. She is the first off-post provider to accomplish the accreditation.
Angel said he is proud of his wife's accomplishments and supports her efforts to continue her education.
"For the past six or seven years she always backed me and supported me in my decision to be a Soldier. She wanted to better herself through education so I did whatever I could to help her realize that dream," he said. "It was some long hours, long days and long nights, but it was worth it."
Cynthia said Angel helps around the house, feeding and caring for the children after he gets home from work and giving her the time to study for accreditation.
"She read what we needed to do to comply, and I executed it no matter what it was," said Angel.
"He helped with so many things especially the backyard which has to meet certain safety criteria. He built the side fences and made sure there was no debris in the yard that the children could put in their mouths," said Cynthia. "He really did a lot."
Angel said it wasn't difficult to juggle his Soldier duties and help out at home.
"I just did the things I should do as a husband and man of the house. I'm proud of her and the things she has accomplished. I did it to help and support her the way she has done for me in my military career," he said.
Since Cynthia received her accreditation she has met the standard to be a three-star home, which is the top quality child care home according to the NAFCC.
Since they live off post, they have regular inspections from Fort Sill Child, Youth and School Services and the Lawton Department of Human Services.
"The house has met the standards of both Lawton and Fort Sill," said Cynthia.
"She was already a FCC provider, the accreditation means she took it to the next level. This is above and beyond the FCC training required to operate a FCC home," said Melissa Shaw, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation FCC director.
Family child care is quarters-based military family members on post or state licensed homes off post who must meet certification requirements prior to providing child care, said Shaw.
FCC providers are independent contractors, regulated by Army Regulation 608-10, who offer developmentally appropriate child care for up to six children in their home as part of the post FCC program. FCC certification requirements include a thorough background check on all residents in the house, a week of orientation training, a family interview, home inspections and health screening.
"Cynthia has taken the steps necessary to do the individual training and undergo the evaluation to attain the title," said Shaw.
To recognize the accomplishment, Col. Paul Hossenlopp, garrison commander, stopped by their home recently to meet the couple and congratulate Cynthia.
"To be the first accredited FCC provider to run a child care home off post is an accomplishment and a credit to Fort Sill and the program," said Hossenlopp, who presented Sosa with a certificate of appreciation. "The high level of quality required for this credential ensures the children in your care grow and learn in an environment that is responsive to their individual needs. Your understanding of the demands of military life helps to ensure parents can focus on their mission during the work day. You are a credit to Fort Sill and to Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation."
Sosa started doing daycare at Fort Riley, Kan.
"When my husband went to Iraq, my goal was to get my CDA and accreditation done before he came home," she said. "I got my CDA there but I had to start my accreditation here, because it takes a year to complete."
It begins with submitting the paperwork and includes five hours of in-home observation of the provider with the children in the home and an hour-long interview.
Cynthia said she first worked 16 years as a phlebotomist and four years as a gate guard before she learned about the FCC program while stationed at Fort Riley. She attended the FCC slide presentation and training on becoming a FCC provider in her home.
"I love caring for children and making a difference for other military families. All the children I care for are military children, and I'm glad to give those parents the peace of mind they have knowing their children are being cared for in a safe and loving home," she said.
One parent whose daughter she cared for while stationed at Fort Riley was a single parent and received orders to deploy. She couldn't find a family member to take care of the little girl and was in danger of being put out of the Army.
"After discussing it with my husband who was also deploying, I volunteered to care for her daughter so this Soldier mom could deploy. I cared for the child for seven months until her aunt could step up to care for her. I was glad to be able to do it so her mother could serve her country without worry about the safety or the happiness of her daughter," said Cynthia.
Cynthia said it took a year to complete her studies and have the onsite evaluation necessary to gain the status.
Angel said his wife went through a medical situation where she was hospitalized for two months in April. She had to be complete with her accreditation within a year, which meant June of this year, or she would have to start over. Angel was at the hospital with her quite a bit, which meant he had to miss work.
"The support I received from my chain of command when she was sick was heartwarming and their support allowed me to concentrate on getting her better. It was a serious medical condition which kept her hospitalized for that length of time," said Angel.
FCC homes offer full-time, part-time and hourly child care from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Many also offer extended hours care, 24-hour care or long-term care during training exercises and field problems.