WIESBADEN, Germany - "It has made me a better parent," said Janell Smith, a Wiesbaden Family Child Care provider.
Smith was talking about the benefits of working as a home-based child care provider.
"The things I've learned during the training -- as a mom -- are things you just might not think of," she said, adding, "It's great to get the chance to help out other military families and also to spend time with my own children."
Smith, who has worked as an FCC provider for eight years and has three children, said another benefit of the job is the flexibility it offers.
"I'm in college now studying Early Childhood Development. I have a purpose. It's really hard to start over every time you move, and this a gateway to so many different things you can do -- plus, you don't have to pay for child care.
"The Army pays for your training and credentials which is something you can take to the outside world," Smith said.
"It's also great for parents who want to travel. You can be flexible with your schedule," she said. "You can also write off everything you purchase and use for Family Child Care on your tax return."
Family Child Care is great for the parent who wants to stay home, according to Farideh Kastens, Wiesbaden Child and Youth Services administrator.
"FCC providers can take care of up to six children, including their own child," said Kastens, adding that the extensive training they are provided free of charge can extend into a career with CYS.
"We help them set up the home, and it is inspected by garrison fire, safety and health officials to ensure it provides a safe environment for the children," she said.
"Because Family Child Care is available with the U.S. Army all over the world, they can use their credentials and training at other garrisons," Kastens added.
As an alternative to child care in Child Development Centers, Family Child Care "creates an opportunity for children to have child care in a family setting," said Kastens. "Some people prefer the small group setting and multi-age care which gives the older children more of an opportunity to learn leadership skills. Plus the younger children have the older children around them as role models."
FCC providers receive developmentally appropriate training by age group, learn about developmentally appropriate activities, child abuse prevention, CPR, first aid and more. "They get background checks and after getting spouse's and commander's consent, their home is inspected and certified (once the fire, safety and health checks are completed)," said Kastens.
"Family Child Care is a home-based business that is subsidized by Child and Youth Services," she said. "It's a great way to make extra income while taking care of your own children in your home."
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a Family Child Care provider in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden can call civ (0611) 143-548-9302.