PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Nov. 23, 2021) – U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey officials hope to rebuild the installation’s Family Child Care program after issues related to COVID-19 caused all the program’s homes to close.
LaToya Maben, outreach director and Family Child Care director for Child and Youth Services, USAG PoM, said the FCC program allows child care providers to operate independently owned businesses from their homes, and it is a great way for military spouses to have a business that moves with them.
Madison Bosanko, a FCC provider at Fort Irwin, California, agrees. She opened her first home as a FCC provider more than six years ago at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and continues to enjoy it.
Not only did her FCC move from one installation to another go smoothly, Bosanko said, the program has allowed her to stay at home with her children, earn an income and run a rewarding business.
“A lot of people think it’s ‘babysitting’ and it’s super easy and we just sit here all day, but it’s definitely not,” Bosanko said. “We have lesson plans that we follow; we have schedules that we follow; we have meal plans that we follow, and so it’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding work.”
Bosanko said she provides care for 2 to 4 year olds, and particularly likes the age group.
“I love being able to see their facial expressions when you’ve taught them something new—seeing them ‘click’ something for the first time,” Bosanko said.
For those interested in opening a FCC home, Maben said it is important for candidates to know FCC providers are independent contractors who receive garrison certification. The program provides care for children four weeks to 12 years old in government-owned and government-leased housing on post.
Certification requires a background check, a minimum of 20 hours of training and age-appropriate equipment, Maben said. Candidates must also agree to have fire, safety and preventive medicine officials inspect their homes. If all goes well, the garrison can provide certification in one to two months. The training includes child abuse identification and prevention, first-aid and CPR training.
Another plus is that former Child and Youth Program Assistants in the installation’s child care facilities can easily become FCC providers and vice versa.
“If you’ve worked in a center, you can pretty easily become an FCC provider in your home,” said Traci Gibson, director of the Monterey Road Child Development Center. “You’ve met all the qualifications. If you’ve been an FCC provider, you’ve met all the qualifications for the center. So it is interchangeable.”
Also, Maben said the garrison has a “lending library” of equipment, such as child-sized tables and chairs, so new providers do not have to sink a lot of money into becoming a provider.
Bosanko said she has taken advantage of the lending libraries and recommends others do the same.
“Don’t buy anything for your daycare—nothing,” Bosanko said. “You can literally borrow everything and wait until you ‘A,’ start making money to buy things, and ‘B,’ wait and see if you like it.”
In terms of FCC operations, Maben said the program limits the number of children providers can watch to a maximum of six, and CYS sets the prices.
The FCC program offers flexible hours, with options of full day, part day, extended and overnight, weekend and hourly care, Maben said, but providers do not have to offer all those options. FCC providers also receive paid, ongoing training for professional development.
Currently, the installation offers a relocation bonus of up to $1,000 for FCC providers who successfully relocate their home business to a gaining installation, Maben said, as well as a recruitment bonus of up to $1,000 to FCC providers who successfully open a home.
It is also important for people to know that Army policy requires that anyone providing care on a regular basis for more than 10 hours per week must receive certification through CYS as a FCC provider, Maben said.
Providing unauthorized child care in government owned or leased housing puts people at risk of losing their housing privileges, Maben said. Additionally, unauthorized child care by an uncertified person puts children at risk.
For more information visit https://presidio.armymwr.com/programs/family-child-care or call Maben at (831) 242-5820.