FORT POLK, La. — For military working parents, finding the right childcare option for their children is paramount to Family and mission success.
At the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, military Families and Department of Defense civilian employees have several choices for care at the Child Development Centers, but lesser known to the public is the Family Child Care Program, which offers in-home child care on the installation.
Alisa Edwards, Child and Youth Services administrator, explained FCC providers are not only held to the same standards as the CDCs, but they are afforded the same support in terms of training, field trips and supplies.
“Families can rest assured that any FCC provider is receiving the same training as caregivers in any of the CDCs, and they undergo monthly inspections, ranging from fire and safety to health checks,” Edwards said.
Some of the major benefits for military Families with the FCC option include smaller class ratios, a home-like environment and flexible schedules that can meet the needs of parents who have shift work schedules, given their FCC provider meets the requirements to offer extended care.
The benefits of the program also extend beyond what the Families receive.
“Before coming to work in the centers, I was an FCC provider. I was able to be present for my boys, but I was also earning an income as I cared for other children,” Edwards said.
Milka Karanja, Fort Polk FFC provider, said she’s been a provider for eight years and loves her work.
“The best part of being an FCC provider is the ability to work with children from home,” Edwards said.
CYS offers FCC providers reoccurring training, child care center furnishings, art supplies, books and toys for the children.
CYS also helps providers organize field trips for kids. They facilitate trips to the Alexandria Zoo and regular trips to Fort Polk’s Allen Memorial Library and Splash Park.
Another benefit for FCC providers are military and United States Department of Agriculture subsidies.
“Each month, we help FCC providers calculate their totals and fill out the appropriate forms to receive their subsidies, which is in addition to what the Families pay for care to the individual providers,” Edwards said.
If someone is interested in being certified as an FCC provider, they can begin by calling CYS Services. Once CYS staff takes their information, they will be scheduled for a two-hour orientation, which covers the rules, regulations, steps and required forms to complete the certification process.
“If they decide they are interested in continuing, they will complete and return the required forms and undergo the necessary background checks, a Family interview, health screening, training and finish the process by setting up their home — with the help of CYS — and receive their pre-inspections,” Edwards said.
Interested in becoming an FCC provider? The next orientation is scheduled for Aug. 4.
For more information or to register for orientation call (337) 531-1955.