By Rita Hall, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Family Child CareJune 28, 2010
SCHOFIELDAca,!E+BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Army's Family Child Care, or FCC, program has been in existence for decades, but there are still folks in the military community who are unaware that it is a viable child care option.
FCC matches trained Child, Youth and School Services child care providers with families.
FCCAca,!E+children are immersed in an array of entertaining activities from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m., like storytime, music and movement, arts and crafts, water play, games, cooking, drama, blocks, puzzles, outdoor play and outings.
FCC children are fed well, receiving a delicious and nutritional U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved family style breakfast and lunch, as well as a morning and afternoon snack.
Providers receive great support from FCC staff with continual in-house professional training and assistance. A wide array of toys and equipment are available to borrow from the FCC Lending Library, so the provider can set up a home child care environment.
Pam Murray is one such provider, here. Before relocating to Hawaii, she was employed as a child care provider in the private sector for 16 years. She said the FCC program compares favorably with child care in the private sector, and she believes FCC offers superior, quality child care and better educational opportunities and ongoing professional training.
Murray initially decided to become an FCC provider because she loves working with children, sought to create social experiences for her young son, wanted to earn an income while being a stay-at-home mom, and desired to support Soldiers by providing reliable, quality care for their children.
She said being an FCC provider is very rewarding as the provider is a positive role model for children, and she takes that role very seriously. Murray enjoys watching children grow and develop, knowing that she plays an important role by providing them with a safe, nurturing and fun learning environment.
For parents to have "peace of mind," knowing their children are safe, is important, she said.
"All you have to do is fill out a simple application, complete the state and federal background checks, and attend a one-week training that includes CPR, first aid and child abuse identification and reporting," Murray said, while describing the process to become a provider.
"You also undergo safety, health and fire home inspections, and pick out the toys and furniture you need from the FCC Lending Library," she added.
Murray said the FCC is a wonderful career for military spouses who love children, want to be a positive role model, and have the patience to work with children from different backgrounds and experiences.
FCC providers are all trained professionals who are given the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge through ongoing training.
Through the FCC Program, Murray has received her Child Development Associate credential and is currently working towards a National Association for Family Child Care certification.
Plus, FCC providers enjoy a portable career they can carry with them to their spouse's next duty station.
For more information on Family Child Care and providers on Schofield Barracks, Fort Shafter, Aliamanu Military Reservation, Tripler Army Medical Center, Helemano Military Reservation and Wheeler Army Airfield, call 808-655-8373.