Child interacts with care worker

Military Child Care Programs

Choosing child care may be one of the most important decisions—and one of the first—you’ll make as a parent. Sure, it can be nerve-wracking. Rest assured, the Department of Defense provides military families with quality, affordable child care options.

The Department of Defense takes great pride in the variety and quality of services provided to children and youth on installations worldwide. While the services provided may vary by location, the standards and quality of services are consistent and meet established regulations.

Child Development Centers, or CDC

Child development centers generally offer child care for children ages six weeks to five years. Care is available Monday through Friday, with some locations offering options, such as extended hours, weekend care and respite care. Child development centers vary in size and larger installations may operate multiple facilities. Programs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Family Child Care, or FCC

Children ages two weeks to 12 years may receive care in the private home of a certified family child care provider living in government-owned or leased housing. Care may also be provided in a state-licensed home in the community. Family child care is typically available weekdays and with additional care provided during evenings, weekends and flexible hourly care for shift work. Regulations limit the number of children who receive care at any one time to no more than six children under age eight and no more than two children under age two. Family child care providers must be certified to operate by the installation. Individual providers may voluntarily seek national accreditation from the National Association of Family Child Care and are provided local support, training and materials to accomplish this goal. 

School-age Care Programs, or SAC

School-age programs provide care to children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Care is offered before and after school, during non-school days and summer vacations. School-age programs may be located in Department of Defense youth centers, child development centers or in other suitable facilities. All programs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the Council on Accreditation. 

Finding child care options right for you

Requesting child care:

  • Military families may request child care by visiting MilitaryChildCare.com. The Department of Defense website serves all military families seeking child care and provides access to military-operated child care options worldwide. Families may search for and request care, manage their requests and update their profile online, simplifying the process for finding child care. Call the toll-free number at 855-696-2934.
  • If your child has special needs, your service will work closely with you to find the best placement for your child. You can contact your installation child development center to learn more about child care options for your family. Each installation works with a multi-disciplinary Inclusion Action team that includes the parent in the discussion of how to best meet the individual needs of the child.
  • Child Care Resource and Referral agencies are typically part of a statewide network of agencies that help working parents find child care. You can find the agency that serves your area by visiting Child Care Aware of America or by calling 800-424-2246. Child Care Aware of America manages several programs for the military and you may be eligible for fee assistance.

Whether you need help with child care or other aspects of parenting, you can always reach out to Military OneSource.