Parenting and militry service ... making it easier

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In today's environment of high ops tempo and increased mobilization, Airmen routinely juggle competing demands of parenting and military service. The Air Force Services mission recognizes that readily available, high quality and affordable child care and youth programs are a workforce issue with direct impact on mission readiness. 

In September 2003, the Air Force launched the U.S. Air Force Family Child Care Subsidy Program, a worldwide initiative designed to reduce the cost of quality child care in licensed Family Child Care (FCC) homes for family members of active-duty Air Force personnel, as well as members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Now, in 2007, the military personnel assigned to the 45th Space Wing and mission partner organizations are reaping the benefits. 

Services Family Member Programs Flight administers the Expanded Child Care (ECC) programs. The FCC coordinator leads the charge in delivering child care services during nontraditional hours at no cost to the military member, enabling Airmen to obtain high quality child care even when the mission requires irregular duty hours. 

One of our successful ECC programs is the Extended Duty Care Program. Thus far in fiscal year 2007, this program has delivered 729 hours of child care to military members performing contingency or high-tempo operations. The program helps when a parent's weekly workload exceeds their typical child care arrangements. Child care provided is for nontraditional hours, such as evenings and weekends, at no additional cost to parents, when the military member must work extended duty hours. 

If you've just returned from a 30-day or more deployment, or have a two-week "R & R," the Returning Home Care Program offers deployed parents up to 16 hours of free care per child. 

Another very successful program is our Home Community Care program. So far this year, the FCC providers have delivered more than 3,600 hours of free child care for dependents of the 920th Rescue Wing personnel during their scheduled drill weekends. 

Woven into the fabric of the Services Division mission is an understanding that helping active duty and reserve families is critical to operational readiness and productivity. One of the significant ways we deliver on our mission is through quality child care programs. Give us a call at 494-8381 or visit our Web site at www.GOPATRICKFL.com for more information on ECC programs and eligibility requirements.