FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Those interested in caring for children and making some money working from their on-post home, the Fort Riley Family Child Care program through Child and Youth Services has an option.

Cheryl Greathouse, CYS coordinator, said they want to create awareness of the FCC program because they realized there's are people providing child care without being certified by the program.

"It is considered unauthorized care and if they're doing care in their home on post more than 10 hours a week on a regular basis -- they need to certify through the Family Child Care program," she said. "If they're not certified, it can actually jeopardize their on-post quarters."

One of the benefits of being a certified home child care providers through the FCC is the support CYS offers to caregivers who operate the home-base business, Greathouse said.

"The Family Child Care certification comes (with) a lot of support for people who truly want to do child care, so that's a great benefit," she said.

According to riley.armymwr.com, operating an FCC home, either on or off post, can be a viable and portable career for any military family member. To help a provider get started, all training, equipment, toys and supplies necessary to start a childcare home are available -- free of charge through the Army.

HOW TO BE AN FCC PROVIDER
Coaching is provided every step of the way, said Justina Kanz, FCC director. The first step of being an FCC provider is that the caregiver must be at least 18 years old and have their high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma. After which, soon-to-be licensed providers will be coached through an 18-month on-the-job curriculum.

"We go through all of the training together," Kanz said. "Once they've completed the modules, or at the 12-month mark, we can get working on the (accreditation). They have to do portfolios and do a self-study and things of that nature."

The credential potential providers have to earn is the Child Development Associate, a widely recognized early childhood education accreditation, said Kanz, who was a FCC provider before she become director of the program. After that, they can get their home accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care, a mark of quality child care.

"I was an FCC provider myself, the biggest benefit is the support," she said. "They can earn their CDA and they can get their home accredited through NAFCC and the Army pays for both of those accreditations and I walk them through the whole process."

During that time, the FCC program also conducts background checks on the potential providers. Kanz said, though this part of the process might be lengthy and may take up to six months, it's only a hassle the first time it's conducted.

"Once it's done, it's done," she said. "That background transfers with you from installation to installation. Then it's just an abbreviated portion of it from there."

Caregivers can begin to offer care once the background check is complete and as they work with the FCC team through the rest of the certification process.

Apart from being trained every step of the way, the FCC program provides ongoing guidance to caregivers under their organization and sets up their caregivers on a good start by providing them with resources for quality care and good health practices, Greathouse said.


"We don't provide everything that a provider needs to run their program, but we do provide a lot and we definitely provide them enough to get started," she said. "The basic items they need to run a program, plus safety items, items that support good health practices. We have a lot of those so they do not have to go out of pocket initially to buy a bunch of stuff to get started."

Providers will be cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid certified through the FCC program and have a home interview. Kanz said home interviews are conducted at the end of the month, a month before FCC providers open for business.

"They get a week and a half of training of (how to prepare for home inspections), we don't set them up to sink or swim," Kanz said. "And then fire, safety, Army public health nurse and myself come out to do pre-inspections. Once those are passed, then we open (the house) within a week. Inspections are held at the end of most months so we can get them opened on the first of the next month to start care."

All FCC homes, where providers are considered independent contractors under CYS, are inspected regularly to meet quality and safety standards, Kanz said.

"They have to come out (each) month to do a monthly inspection," she said, "At a minimum, there is a Family Child Care person (reviewing standards) in their homes."

Finally, when providers have gone through rigorous and stringent training and inspections, they receive the FCC certificate and are allowed to display the FCC "House and Rainbow" sign on their front window. According to the FCC page on riley.armymwr.com, the FCC symbol is an assurance that children of Soldiers and their family are getting care from a post-certified provider.