Military families in five major cities will now have help paying for in-home childcare, thanks to a pilot program announced by the Department of Defense.
Because of the requirements of the latest National Defense Authorization Act, Section 589, “Pilot Program to Provide Fee Assistance (In-Home Providers),” nannies will now be an option for some military moms and dads. The DOD is trying out this year-long pilot program in the National Capital Region; Hawaii; San Diego, California; Norfolk, Virginia; and San Antonio, Texas.
“The Department of Defense is taking another important step to support families with childcare solutions by piloting a program that explores the viability of providing fee assistance for full-time, in-home child care services,” said Patricia “Patty” Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “This is just one of many initiatives to increase access to affordable child care, including support provided for community-based fee assistance and hourly care. We understand the need is great, and the time is now.”
Those words are music to Brittney Kohl’s ears. As a mother of four young children, as well as a birth/postpartum doula and lactation counselor out of JB Andrews, Kohl struggled mightily to find quality childcare amidst the 2020 lockdowns. Her Air Force husband’s job requires constantly-rotating shifts, matching her own unpredictable work schedule. It all added up to one gigantic, stressful headache.
“We have attempted having a list of sitters we could call on short notice,” Kohl said. “It really put a strain on my work and was not conducive to us having care that was reliable and that I knew was trained and trustworthy.”
A program to help pay for a nanny would solve that problem, she said.
“Financially, it would allow us to find quality care for our children and not compromise other areas of our finances,” Kohl said. “My husband would stress less about if he is going to be late for work, or worry he has to ask if he can have the day off because his wife’s job interrupted, and he needs to care for the kids.”
There are several conditions placed on the program as it rolls out. It is currently only available to single or dual active duty and Guard or reserve service members on active duty, with a full-time working spouse or enrolled full-time in a postsecondary institution, currently on the MilitaryChildCare.com waitlist in one of the five regions. If families are not on the waitlist, they can create an account at MilitaryChildCare.com and submit a request for in-home care.
After families find an approved, background-checked and trained nanny, the program will cover full-time care for a minimum of 30 hours to a maximum of 60 hours of weekly childcare. Each family’s total income will affect the amount of approved fee assistance.
The Kohl family plans on applying immediately, Brittney said.
“This is one way my family can benefit from military programs that aim to support us,” she said. “Being able to afford a nanny would greatly help our family.”
For more information on this pilot program, visit Military OneSource.