Unauthorized child care providers now have the opportunity to come clean and receive free training during the Army's nationwide Family Child Care amnesty program.

Throughout the month of November, Child, Youth & School Services is offering training certification without penalty to unauthorized providers. Unauthorized providers are those who care for children in their homes for more than 10 hours a week without proper training and certification through Child Development Services.

During the amnesty, there is no fee to attend the class, no fee for child care and no fee to register children with CYS for potential providers.

"For people who are doing unauthorized child care in government quarters, amnesty is an opportunity for them to become part of the family child care training program so that we can do the background checks on them, we can do the safety inspections, and make sure that the children are in a safe environment," said Betty Halliburton, director of family child care.

The official training begins with an orientation from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 14 in Bldg. 1743. Afterward, potential providers should have a good idea if this is something they would like to pursue, said Halliburton. The weeklong training is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 17 through 21. It includes topics like business practices, special needs, child growth and development, administering medication, parent-customer relations, safety, child abuse, fire prevention, food handling and the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition program, and age-appropriate developmental activities, to name a few.

Becoming an FCC provider offers a lot of benefits, especially if the alternative is being reported to housing for violating the tenant agreement and the possibility of being kicked out of post housing, said Halliburton.

"They need to be a trained family child care provider before they can provide care," she said. "One of the benefits of the program is that they know what's appropriate for the children."

Other benefits include free business consulting, subsidized income programs, the option to earn advanced certifications, referrals, and most of the resources needed in order to ensure a successful business and a safe home for children. In addition, the CYS office is always available to help with planning and scheduling or to provide forms, guidance and mentorship.

Providers also have the capability to post their own Web page on the CYS Web site with information about their center hours and availability.

The family child care program extends to housing off post. The providers, who must be military spouses and homeowners, are held to the same standards as those on post and additionally, they must meet requirements set forth by the state of Texas.

For more information on becoming a family child care provider on or off post or for a schedule of FCC training, call 568-4374 or visit Fort Bliss CYS.