FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fees for Army child care and related child and youth programs are scheduled to increase Nov. 1.

The fee increases are part of a goal to create consistency in child care fees across the Army, said Rose Edmond, coordinator of Child, Youth and School Services for Fort Jackson. While some families might experience a slight decrease in fees, others might realize an increase of $1 to $18 per month.

"The Army fee schedule is based on Department of Defense fee schedule," Edmond said. "There will be slight changes in income categories, and these adjustments were tied to projected changes in income for military civilians."

The new fee schedule is based on total family income. Nine categories for total family income have been adjusted from last year to reflect a weighted average of proposed military and civilian pay increases. By law, child care fees paid by parents are based on total family income, not military rank or civilian grade.

Changes in Army Child and Youth Fee Policy for the 2013-2014 school year include:
- A slight increase or decrease in nine total family income, or TFI, categories;
- Revised payment procedures;
- Increase in late monthly payment fees;
- Revised parent participation procedures;
- Revised termination of services procedures;
- Installation procedures for Army Child Care in Your Neighborhood (ACCYN), Army School Age Programs in Your Neighborhood (ASPYN), Operation Military Child Care (OMCC) and Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN).

Families will be provided complete information about their fee changes through their local Child, Youth and School Services program.

The Department of Defense is moving toward creating a consistent child care fee schedule across all armed forces, using a structure designed to minimize the financial impact on families while ensuring they pay a share of their work-related child care expenses.

Edmond said one change to the new fee schedule might take families by surprise, though.

"If families owe any money at the end of the month, we'll have to give them notice that we're suspending their care," she said. "They have to go back on the wait list to get back in, because we're giving that space to the next person."

Commanders may authorize financial hardship waivers for families with documented temporary financial hardships, though.

"We have what's called hardship consideration," Edmond said. "If they apply for that by the end of the month, they can request a reduction in fees. They'll see a financial planner at (Army Community Services) who will look at their expenses and make a request to the garrison commander for a reduction in rates. But, we can't lower their fees any lower than Category 1."