Anniston Army Depot, Ala.--Secured in car seats, 20 children came to work with their parents on Monday as the Child Development Center here opened its doors for the first time to depot employees and their families.
The pitter-patter of little feet was a welcomed sound as some were able to walk in and those as young as six weeks old were brought in by their mothers and fathers.
"We've been looking forward to this day for some time," said JoAnne Amundson, CDC director, as she stood in the doorway of the new 18,000- square-feet, multimillion dollar facility. "Over the last few months, we've been making preparations. Our qualified and certified staff of 15 professionals has been reviewing training material, unpacking boxes, arranging furniture, and toys."
"Ensuring quality child care programs that are both affordable and available to Army families are a high priority. It is the objective of Child Youth Services to sustain its acclaim as a model for the nation for America's child care," said Amundson.
The Center, which comes with a video surveillance system in all care rooms, provides employees with child care options consisting of developmentally age-appropriate activities from ages six weeks to 10 years old in a warm, nurturing environment that stimulates growth, imagination, and creativity.
"It's so important for the parents to be able to focus on the depot's mission of supporting our military," said Amundson.
Clinton Moon, a project manager within the Directorate of Information Management, had no reservations about leaving his four-month-old daughter, Sofia, with the child care providers. Though it was the first time she has been attended to by anyone other than family members, he and his wife, Andrea, were pleased with the environment in which they were entrusting their most precious commodity.
"When I left her that morning, she didn't cry or whimper," he said. "When I returned to pick her up, I was pleased with how the day had evolved. I was provided a spreadsheet which listed meals, naps, and diaper changes. They even filled out an accident report when she scratched herself."
Before the CDC opened, Chaulsie Ervin was driving her 7-week-old daughter more than 20 miles from Oxford to Jacksonville for childcare each workday. Now, she simply brings Aaliyah to the depot with her each morning.
"I definitely get more sleep now because I don't have to leave as early," said Ervin, who works in the Directorate of Public Works. "And Aaliyah has really taken to her teacher."
Amundson said the CDC is opening slowly with the first 20 but can accommodate up to 161 children. For those parents who are interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, there is a waiting list. "We encourage them to sign up as soon as possible," said Amundson, who can be reached at 240-3327.

Month of the Military Child - Open House
In recognition of Month of the Military Child, the Department of Defense focuses on the sacrifices made by the children of parents who are serving our country. Military children endure a great deal of change and obstacles due to Permanent Change of Station moves, frequent deployments, and other situations unique to being a member of a military family.
Numerous activities are planned in the coming months at the depot's CDC for military children. Plans include making a School Age Services garden, cooking fun recipes, as well as celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day by focusing on recycling, planting trees and much more.
In honor of the Month of the Military Child, the ANAD CDC is scheduled to host an open house on April 26 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.