FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- When it comes to child care, Fort Rucker wants to make sure its families are taken care of, and that's why policies exist to make sure children who are looked after on the installation receive top-notch care.

Child care on the installation must be provided by only certified child care providers and any unauthorized childcare on post is prohibited, according to Toni Hampton, Fort Rucker Child and Youth Services coordinator.

"Unauthorized care is prohibited in government-owned or leased family housing on post," said Hampton. "If you provide babysitting or childcare in your home on post, you have to be a certified FCC provider."

According to post policy, unauthorized child care is any care given or provided in a home in excess of 10 hours per week that is being provided on a regular basis without the proper certifications, said the CYS coordinator.

Fortunately, parents have options for childcare on post at the Fort Rucker Child Development Center and the Mini CDC, as well as in-home care through the Family Child Care program, all with certified child care providers who cater to families, said the CYS coordinator.

The policy does allow for babysitters, and parent central services offers a referral list for teen babysitters who have gone through the teen babysitting class, which teaches first aid, CPR and other activities in regards to babysitting. FCC certification is not required when care is being provided in another person's quarters for the children that reside in that home.

"You can go into someone else's home and babysit, but the requirement is that no other children can be there, except for your own children," she said. "It cannot be a business that says that you're providing daycare in your home."

She added that the reason for the policy is the safety of the children being cared for.

Hampton said when looking for child care, people should make sure to go through the proper channels to ensure the safety of their children.

With the FCC program, people are getting certified providers who are trained just as providers in the CDC are trained, so the quality of care is high, said the CYS coordinator. In addition to the training, each FCC home is inspected by fire, safety and health officials before being opened to receive children. Those inspections continue on a monthly basis.

Also, each provider, as well as spouses and children in the home over the age of 13, receive thorough background checks, added Hampton.

"That ensures quality care and safe care for families, so that's very important," she said. "We have strict standards as far as the programming goes -- (FCC) is not just babysitting.

"They are looking at where your child is developmentally, what that child's needs are, and they are basing activities on that child's needs, interests and what can benefit them," Hampton continued. "There really is a lot that goes into it."

Additionally, becoming an FCC provider is a great employment opportunity for those interested in taking on child care in their home.

"If people want to provide child care in their homes, there is a right way to do it and still meet all of the housing requirements, and that's through becoming an FCC provider," said Hampton. "This is an employment opportunity that allows (providers) to be in their home with their children, and those skills transfer with them when they move to the next post. If they have completed all of their training, they don't have to start over."

FCC providers receive training at no cost, access to equipment and materials, U.S. Department of Agriculture food program reimbursement, financial incentives and a built-in support network of subject-matter experts, said the CYS coordinator.

"The providers have a network of professionals that they can use as experts, so if a provider gets a child with allergies or a specific medical condition, that person has all of those resources at their fingertips and can tap into that for assistance, support or training," she said. "There are a lot of resources that FCC providers are able to use, as opposed to someone who is providing unauthorized child care. This is about the safety of our children, and it's about knowing that they are in a safe home and that they are being cared after the right way."

For more information on FCC, call 255-3066. For more information on CYS registration, enrollment or babysitting, call 255-9638.