Tools for Leaders/Command

Children, Youth & Teens

Children sitting on a bench


The Department of Defense recognizes the importance of providing families with access to quality, affordable child care and school age programs and is strongly committed to meeting the increased demand due to high deployments and operation tempo.

Child care is a workforce issue that directly impacts the efficiency, readiness and retention of the total force. The child development system of care provides approximately 155,000 child care spaces at more than 700 facilities worldwide. These programs currently serve approximately 180,000 children daily through full-day, part-day and hourly programs. The programs also provide care during nights and weekends as well as care for children, kindergarten to 12 years of age, before and after school, during holidays and summer vacations.

Program highlights

  • Child Development Center program: The CDC program provides care to children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. More than 50 percent of the program's care capacity is provided to children under the age of 3.
  • School-Age Care program: The SAC program provides care to children, kindergarten to 12 years of age, before and after school, as well as during holidays and summer vacations. School-age care programs may also be provided in DoD youth centers, child development centers, on- and off-installation schools or other suitable facilities, such as community centers.
  • Family Child Care and Child Development Home Program: Family child care and child development home care is provided in the home by certified providers living in government-owned or leased housing. Care may also be provided in affiliated homes, which are located off the installation and agree to abide by Department of Defense standards for operation. There are more than 3,000 licensed and trained family child care and child development home providers. Families rely on family child care to flex to include night, weekend and unusual hourly care, such as shift work.
  • Deployment-related respite child care: This care is provided by the services and through a Military Community and Family Policy contract with the Armed Services YMCA for families of deployed and independent duty personnel.


All active duty members, Department of Defense civilians, and activated or deployed National Guard and reserve members.

Program availability

Child development and school age programs are available worldwide on military installations and in the community.

Additional information


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