Finding both the appropriate Child Care and learning environment for your child is an important decision. It is one that could be impacted by several variables in the life of a military family. One is that in many instances, on-base Child Care may not be readily available or a feasible option for many military families. This variable is the main reason why Army Child Care Fee Assistance was established. Not only does it aid in locating and selecting off-base Child Care for Reserve and Active duty personnel, but it also helps in offsetting the cost forsaid Child Care.
Through the Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), there are several programs for eligible families for military Child Care. These programs will provide subsidies for your military dependents that are enrolled in Commercial Child Care programs across the United States that are of quality.
How The Child Care Fee Assistance Program Works
Child Care Aware® of America approves subsidy amounts to eligible families that are based on Total Family Income (TFI), the final Child Care costs after all other discounts, and the maximum benefit of $1500 per child per month. Army Sponsors are then responsible for their portions of their total child case. In many cases, Fee Assistance will pay the difference, and that will be paid directly to the qualifying Child Care provider.
Military Children Eligibility Criteria
For the Sponsor to receive fee Assistant benefits, your child must be under the age of 13. The dependent of the Sponsor that is of non-school age must be enrolled in Day Care for at least 16 hours per week, and school-age children need to be registered for a minimum of 6 hours of Child Care per week during the school year. During summer breaks, school-age children will need to be registered for a minimum of 16 hours of Child Care.
What Child Care Fee Assistance Programs Are Available?
There can be quite a few parenting challenges when it comes to Active duty life, one that includes finding Child Care services and affordable Day Care. The mission of the Child Care Fee Assistance Program is to assist Active Duty personnel that does not have installation Child Care Development Center or Child Development Home readily available for them. The program locates sand selects quality Child Care as well as offsets the cost of civilian Child Care with subsidies that are available through the Child Care Aware® of America programs.
Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN)
For families of Active Duty Sponsors, Civilians, Guard Reservist, and Guard/Reserve Technicians the MCYYN program provides fee assistance for families who are not capable of accessing installation sponsored Child Care. Please note that Guard and Reserves must be on orders for least 30 consecutive days. Families living within 15 miles or 20 minutes of an installation program must have an active request for care on MilitaryChildCare.com before enrolling in fee assistance.
For Child Care centers to meet MCCYN requirements, they must be accredited by 1 of the approved national accreditation agencies listed below:
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
* Please note the agencies that are listed above are the only approved national accreditations that will be accepted for the military fee Child Care assistance programs.
For family Child Care providers to meet MCCYN requirements, they have achieved the following:
Child Development Associate (CDA) credential awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition
An Associate degree or higher in Early Childhood Education or Child Development
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) Accreditation
Operation Military Child Care Providers (OMCC)
OMCC provides Child Care assistance for military families that have Service Members that have a status of Deployed, Recruiter, or Deployed Guard/Recruiter. When military parents are activated/deployed, unfortunately, their needs for Child Care can be increased, as well as their out-of-pocket care expenses. This initiative helps eligible military families that are geographically dispersed obtain licensed Child Care options in their local communities. It also helps them acquire Child Care fees at a reduced rate while the Military Parent is deployed.
For verification purposes, Active Duty orders must be submitted with the application. Guard and Reserves must be on orders for at least 30 consecutive days. For families that are applying to this program for the first time and meet Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCYYN) requirements must select a Child Care provider that is eligible for the MCYYN program.
Families are only allowed to use the provider that they have been approved for. Going forward, your approved Child Care provider must always meet the requirements for fee assistance. If, for any reason, you need to make changes to your Child Care provider, contact the Child Care Aware® of America at (800)424-2246.
Eligible providers for the OMCC fee assistance program must have
A state Child Care license
A state inspection report that’s dated within the last 12 months
They must submit a complete provider fee assistance application
The Army Respite program provides no-cost hourly Child Care to assist in the unique Child Care need for families who meet certain conditions. For Service Members that have eligible deployment orders, their families are eligible for up to 16 hours of free, hourly Child Care per month. Respite care will pay up to $10 an hour for the first child, and for any additional child, they will pay up to $5 per hour, up to a limit of $15 total her hour.
What Can Respite Care Be Used For?
Nights, weekend, and overnight care
Taking a much-needed break
*If your family already participates in the Fee Assistance Program Respite care can still be used during the daytime; however, it must be outside of your regular sponsored care.
According to the implementation of FRAGO 01 Update to Execution Order 300-16, Respite Care is accessible for Service Members that fall into one of the following categories:
Deployed Contingency Operation
Wounded Warriors that are assigned to a WTU or WTB
As of November 1, 2017, the following are no longer eligible for this military Child Care:
Survivor of Fallen Warriors
ROTC Cadet Cadre (trainer)
How Do I Apply for Respite Care?
To determine eligibility, you must submit the following documents:
Single parent Service Members must provide a Power of Attorney (POA) as well as the POA’s contact information
For a provider to become eligible for respite care the provider must fill out the following:
A Provider Respite Application must be filled out and the provider will have to provide an hourly rate for families interesting in using their facility for the program
If the provider is not already a part of the Fee Assistance Program, then they must submit supporting document that are on the Provider Respite Program
Provider must be able to offer Child Care in 2-hour increments
Child Care should be offered at different times for a family that has multiple children if needed
When will I get approved for fee assistance?
Once you submit your application, you will receive a response from Child Care Aware® of America between 3-5 business days on the status of your application. Processing times for your application will vary and is contingent upon timely submission of all family and Child Care documents that are required to approve or recertify your fee assistance.
How is My Fee Assistance Calculated?
The amount of fee assistance that is provided for Child Care is calculated separately for each family. It varies from family to family and child to child, even those that are using the same providers. The amount given for each child is based on Total Family Income (TFI), the number of hours parent work/and or school attendance, requirements for Child Care, provide rates, as well as geographic locations.
The Army has implemented the School Year (SY), 2019-2020 Child and Youth Fee Policy as required by the 19-20 Department of Defense (DoD) Child Care Fee Policy for Community Based Programs. Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) has been using the new DoD Child Care fees to calculate the subsidy amount each family receives. However, any modifications to current certificates will not happen until it’s time to be recertified or when a change takes place that calls for a change in your child’s certificate.
This policy increases the income scale slightly for all the Total Family Income (TFI) categories as well as the Child Care fees for families in each category. Child care fee increases now range from $2.00 to $24.00 per month, depending on what category the family’s TFI falls in.
* Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are now considered high coast areas.
For families that are in these areas, their fees may be impacted. Rates for families that are receiving Fee Assistance will be affected because the subsidy calculation is based on the DoD Child Care rates. These rates are the same that are paid by military families who have children that are enrolled in on-post Child Care.
When are Child Care Fee Assistance Payments Made?
At the end of every month, your fee assistance is paid to the provider within 7-10 business days after Child Care Aware® of America receives the completed attendance sheets.
What Child Care Supporting Documents Do I Need?
Documentation that you need to show for proof of eligibility for Child Care fee assistance may differ by program. Here’s a list of required documents that are commonly used.
Self-Certification Form: This document is used for children listed on the application, or you will need a copy of each child’s birth certificate. Children that are eligible for fee assistance must be listed as the legal dependent in their sponsor’s DEERS. (PDF)
Employment Verification Form: This form pertains to parents that are not married living in the same household and must be filled out if the spouse/non-military are not able to provide pay stubs. Their supervisor must complete the form for a 60-day approval period until the spouse/non-military parent can provide one month of pay stubs. (PDF)
*Please note for full-time fee assistance the spouse/non-military parent must be at least working 25 or more hours a week and for part-time fee assistance, the spouse/non-military parent must work between 16-24 hours a week.
If your spouse/non-military parent is in school, they must submit a schedule verifying that they are enrolled in 9-12 credit hours if they undergraduates and 6-9 hours at the graduate level. The schedule must include their name, the institution name, number of credits enrolled for, and the time of the current semester.
If the spouse is working or in school part-time than the family will only be eligible for a lesser amount of the fee assistance rate for full time.
Looking For Work Form: If your spouse/non-military spouse is in the process of looking for work they must fill out this form in order to receive a 90-day certification (one-time only) and want to take advantage of this approval period. (PDF)
LES or CLES: A current copy of the Sponsor’s LES or CLES dated within the last 90 days will need to be submitted for all Sponsors that is activated to full-time duty.
Military Orders: Applicants that are eligible for the OMCC program and are activated to full-time duty for the Guard or Reserves must be on orders for at least a minimum of 30 consecutive days.
SF-50 or DA343 Form: A current SF-50 form or DA343 is required for all Army Civilians, Guard, and Reserve Technicians.
Statement of non-availability: This form must be filled out by all families that live within 15 miles or 20 minutes of an Army installation that offers on-post Child Care. It’s required that new families that are applying to the Fee Assistance Program with CCAoA contact CYSS Parent & Outreach Services to see if on-post Child Care options are available to them. If it is unavailable, then this form must be completed and then signed by a CYSS Parent & Outreach Service representative. You will then send it in with your application pack to CCAoA. *If your family resides further than 15 or 20 miles from an Army installation that offers on-post Child Care you do not have to fill this form out. (PDF)
Exempt people include children of school age as well as geographically scattered AR and ARNG, Wounded Warriors, Recruiters, in addition to SOS sponsors and those unique cases that will require Army-approved exceptions to policy.
*Please note if you make a permanent change of station (PCS) to a new location, an updated copy of the statement of non-availability form must be submitted. The form is needed to determine whether space is available on the new installation.
If you are needing additional assistance in obtaining nationally accredited Child Care in a specific area, you can call and speak with a member of Child Care Aware® at 1-800-424-2246. They may be able to provide you with an Enhanced Referral.
An Enhanced Referral Specialists will administer a modified Child Care search during the referral process within five business days. This customized search will factor in both your work and home addresses, the transportation route you to take to and from work, the hours of Child Care that’s needed, as well as the Child Care provider’s eligibility for the Child Care fee assistance program.
When you make the call to an Enhanced Referral Specialists, you will be linked to Child Care providers and consumer education will be included. Your call will also involve screening for eligibility and information on Child Care subsidies that are available to you. If you are given an Enhanced Referral, you will also receive the option to use Child Care providers that are in the preferred provider network for CCAoA. Currently, the network hosts approximately 3,500 MCCYN providers that have all been pre-approved.
Now that you have all your documents ready to go, it’s time to apply and upload your documents.
It’s imperative to remember that you only have 90 days from when your application is submitted to complete your application in full, which includes all required documents and meet all requirements to be eligible for the program. If your application after the initial submission isn’t completed within 90 days, you may not qualify for retro-active subsidy payments, and your application could be rejected. This program that is offered it not an entitlement program, and is dependent on the availability of funds, which at any time may be discontinued.
Child Care Fee Assistance Policy Updates, Payment Policies and Payment Calendar
From time to there will be updates to policies and eligibility for the Army Child Care Assistance Program. You can find policy updates here.
Please click the links below for copies of the Payment Policies and Payment Calendar.
Army Fee Assistance Payment Policies and Procedures (PDF)