Story by: Senior Airman Krystal Wright (502nd Air Base Wing)
To make PCS moves a smoother process for military families, the Department of Defense has launched a new website that allows them to submit an online request for child care before they even get to their next destination.
This single online gateway provides access to comprehensive information on military-operated and military-subsidized child care options worldwide, according to the new Military Child Care website, http://www.militarychildcare.com.
Through this system, military families are able to update their online profile, search for and request child care and manage their requests.
“The website is the new way for parents to sign up for child care,” said Linda Salazar, 502nd Force Support Squadron Child Development Program family child care coordinator. “They already have a whole lot they have to do in their transition (to a new military installation) and they can do all this before they leave their current base.”
The DOD recognizes the importance of providing families with access to quality, affordable child development programs, according the MCC website. Child care is a work force issue that directly impacts the efficiency, readiness, and retention of the total force.
There are three types of child care programs:
• Child Development Centers are facility-based child care programs for children ages six weeks through five years, which operates Monday through Friday.
• School Age Care, or SAC, are facility-based programs for children enrolled in kindergarten through age 12, operating Monday through Friday as well as before/after school, and during school holidays and summer break.
• Family Child Care or Child Development Homes are home-based programs offered by certified providers who care for children ages four weeks through 12 years, in their homes, on-or-off of an installation. They also offer a flexible schedule to include weekends, extended duty hours and swing shift, depending on the individual provider.
These services are for military-affiliated families with an eligible patron, to include DOD employees, combat-related wounded warriors, surviving spouses of service members who died from a combat-related incident, some DOD contractors and others authorized on a space available basis.
Previously, families needed to go in person and complete the necessary paperwork to be added to the waiting list to enroll into a program to use these services. Now, that process can be done online via the MCC website.
They search for and submit unlimited child care requests at any time for any location.
“No matter where you are, you will be able to get your child on the waiting list at your gaining base,” Salazar said.
"The process is faster and more efficient,” added Diana Dyer, 502nd FSS CDP resource and referral coordinator. “You can do it on any computer and on your schedule.”
There are additional benefits to using this website.
”There is better communication by using this system … and less room for error,” Dyer said.
The system provides an anticipated placement time estimating when an opening will be available at each child care facility. It addition, it automatically checks and updates a family’s waiting status each month and will send email notifications on status changes, to include when an offer for care is given in response to the family’s request. The family then has 48 hours to accept or decline the offer.
Currently, the MCC website supports requests for full time and part time care in addition to SAC. Base programs will continue to manage requests for hourly care outside of the website until this functionality becomes available in the system.
More military installations will also be added onto MCC throughout the next year as currently not every base on the new system yet. JBSA made its debut onto the system Dec. 13, 2016.
“They are bringing on bases a few at a time so that it is a smooth transition, but eventually we are all going to be on the site,” Salazar said.
The global launch began January 2015 and is expected to conclude June 2017, according to the website. Program execution will follow a deliberate process that includes constant assessment and adjustments as needed along the way.
For a full list of installations currently actively using MCC, visit https://militarychildcare.cnic.navy.mil/mcc-consumer/where/arewenow.action.
The MCC website is a government site; the URL, http://www.MilitaryChildCare.com, was created to make it easier for families to remember and access, and re-directs to a .mil URL (https://militarychildcare.cnic.navy.mil).
For more information, contact the MCC help desk at (855) 696-2934 or FamilySupport@MilitaryChildCare.com.
To contact the main CDP at JBSA-Lackland, call (210) 671-3675 or 671-3168; JBSA-Randolph, call (210) 652-4946; or JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, call 221-5002.
To contact FCC at JBSA-Lackland, call (210) 671-3376 or 671-4987; JBSA-Randolph, call (210) 221-3820 or JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, call (210) 221-3820.
To contact, Youth Programs, which provides SAC, at JBSA-Lackland, call (210) 671-2388; JBSA-Randolph, call (210) 652-3298; or JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, call (210) 221-3502 or (210) 221-4882.