Military Children and Youth Programs provide an essential service to the military family. The unique needs of military families have never been greater as they face frequent and/or prolonged deployments, high ops tempo, and ever-changing family schedules and routines. The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes the importance of providing families access to quality programs and to assisting service members in balancing mission requirements with the needs of the family. Programs that offer access to quality child care and initiatives that support youth and teens have a direct impact on the effectiveness and readiness of the force.
- Child Development Center (CDC) Program. The CDC program provides care to children ages six weeks to five years. More than fifty percent of the program's care capacity is provided to children under the age of three years. Each military Child Development Center is certified by DoD and most are accredited by a national accrediting body.
- School Age Care (SAC) Program. The SAC program provides care to children, kindergarten to twelve years of age before and after school, and during holidays and summer vacations. SAC is considered a component of the child development program (CDP) system of care. Program are also certified by DoD and most are accredited by a national accrediting body.
- Family Child Care (FCC)/Child Development Home (CDH) Program. FCC/CDH care is provided in private homes by certified providers living in government owned or leased housing. Families rely upon FCC to provide flexible child care to include night, weekend, and unusual hourly care such as shift work and emergency situations.
- 24/7 Child Care. Both Navy and Army operate group homes that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, designed to meet the needs of shift workers and families seeking flexible child care arrangements.
- Community-based Child Care. Care may be provided in affiliated homes located off the installation. Affiliated homes are both licensed by the State and agree to abide by the DoD standards for operation. In addition, care may be offered through licensed and accredited programs operating in community-based facilities.
- Youth and Teen Programs and Services. Programs prepare youth to meet the challenges of military life, adolescence, and adulthood. Programs include physical fitness and sports, arts and recreation, training in leadership, life skills and career/volunteer opportunities, mentoring, intervention, and support services.
Children (birth through age eighteen) whose parents are active duty, Defense Civilians, or Guard and Reserve are eligible for these programs. Eligibility may also extend to retirees and other populations on a space available basis.
Children and Youth Programs are available at more than 300 locations worldwide.
Department of Defense Policy
Department of Defense Legislation
Department of Defense Service Regulations and Orders
Child Development Programs Info Paper
DoD School Age and Youth Programs Info Paper
Sesame Workshop Partnership Info Paper
Sittercity Info Paper