By Laura Bratcher, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii FMWRAugust 30, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Many patrons of Child, Youth and School Services in Hawaii may soon find some good news on their monthly child care fee statement, as the Department of Defense will be implementing a new fee chart to standardize child care fees at military child care facilities, nationwide, Oct. 1.
Currently, Soldiers and family members may experience an inconsistency in child care fees when they move from one installation to another, since the fees for the same services vary widely depending on the location.
The new plan aims to correct this inconsistency by providing predictable fees for service members, wherever they are stationed.
"This new policy is a great news story for Soldiers and their families," said Debra Blanchard, chief, CYSS, in Hawaii. "They will now be able to anticipate their child care fees and know that they will not change as they move from duty station to duty station."
In 2008, DoD conducted an in-depth study of the child development program fee policy at 171 different, full-day child development centers CYSS operates worldwide. The study determined that current fee ranges were no longer reflecting total family income for a majority of the users.
Three new income categories have been added as a result of issues discussed during Army Family Action Plan conferences.
Additionally, fees have not kept pace with the increasing costs of providing care, so current income categories were extended to allow more families to qualify in lower-income ranges.
Although the new plan will bring some fee increases to many Army garrisons, for those in high cost of living areas, such as Hawaii, many will see a
reduction in their childcare fees. In addition, many already standardized service fees in Hawaii will not change.
For example, free CYSS registration and the 15 percent multiple-child-reduction, for two or more children enrolled in regularly scheduled programs, will continue in Hawaii. Army Family Covenant child care fee reductions will also remain in place.
Families can expect to be notified individually of their new category status by the end of August.
CYSS strives to serve its customers by providing quality child care to meet the variety of needs and expectations of communities and anticipates that the new standardized fee chart will additionally meet families' needs by creating a consistent and level playing field across Army installations worldwide.
For more information, visit www.mwrarmyhawaii.com/fees.