FORT BRAGG, N.C. - “The members being interviewed today are the peak, but CYS (Child and Youth Services) as a whole has many, many pebbles, and we all rock together as a team,” said Margaret Lilly, chief of Fort Bragg’s Child and Youth Services.Lilly and her CYS team came together to discuss the results of a weeklong unannounced Army Higher Headquarters Inspection (AHHI) completed October 23 by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command.The team was elated about the results because there were zero findings in the program, and the inspection was done virtually. This means there were no deficiencies identified in the CYS program.“This was unique in two ways,” Lilly said. ”First, to have zero findings in a program of this size such as Fort Bragg is extremely hard to accomplish. Second, this was the first virtual inspection done due to COVID-19. Our higher headquarters, IMCOM, had informed us back some months ago that a certain amount of facilities would receive a physical inspection and the remaining would be done virtually. Although done virtually, the inspection was thorough. You had to present as if the inspectors were in your facilities.”Norma Warwick, acting youth administrator for CYS, said providing photographic evidence was required to meet some of the requested criteria during the inspection.“For example, we had to present photographic evidence indicating our sheets were safe from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and show our bottle feeding process,” Warwick said. “There was a total of 5,272 criteria inspection points. Therefore, we had to pay attention to every detail and communicate what was requested with preciseness.”Lilly said 15 of their buildings were inspected — 12 Child Development Centers and three school age facilities. She added before the AHHI, there were three unannounced inspections at the garrison level during the year.“These garrison-level inspections help prep us if we have shortcomings and allow us to take corrective measures before the AHHI,” Lilly said. “But, although there are four unannounced inspections within a year, it’s not including the monthly inspections we get from fire, health, sanitation and environmental. The truth of the matter is we’re constantly being inspected, that’s why we’re well trained. Our number one priority is the safety of our children.”Stephanie Fortune, lead training and curriculum specialist for CYS, said it’s great to celebrate their accomplishment, but it is short lived.“After the inspection, we want to celebrate our achievement, but your mind is moving to next year’s inspection,” she said. “We’re already asking ourselves if there will be new or additional standards, and what type of training will need to be implemented. You have to stay on top of your game. Our next AHHI could happen in January 2021, so we say ‘YAY’ and keep it moving.”Christy Morrisey, child administrator for CYS, said teamwork is the key to their program’s success.“Ms. Lilly runs a tight ship,” she laughed. “We work hard but have fun. Each portion of CYS fits like a glove from directors to program managers to everyone that’s part of the CYS staff, it’s togetherness.”When asked if the pandemic presented a challenge in any way, Lilly said it did not.“COVID, in actuality, allowed us to exercise the reason we’re here and who we’re here for,” she said. “We never shutdown childcare. We had a CDC open and a School-Age Center open from March 24 until May 1. On May 1, all the CYS doors were opened again. We rotated shifts between our staff members to maintain the facilities that were open. However, we had to minimize our sports programs and contractual class programs.”Lilly added when COVID hit, her and the CYS team went into the mode of ‘how can we continue to be a great functional program?’ The answer was through continuous training.“It was hard for our staff to be at 100 percent in certain special training curriculums prior to COVID because serving our Families and their children took priority,” she said. “But during the pandemic, we were able to get the training completed.”Child and Youth Services exists to allow Soldiers and their Families to complete their missions, Lilly stressed. They can’t do that if CYS is not available for them.”It was established in the 1980s that we are not a babysitting service,” Lilly said. “We are educators, and what we instill in children in their early years is the beginning of helping them maneuver through the rest of their lives.”