Getting the best education for your kids is easier and more affordable if you take advantage of all the benefits and programs available to you as a service member.

Military children and youth programs

Every branch of the military service has its own children and youth program, offering affordable instructional and educational programs as well as flexible child care. The programs provide age-appropriate activities in a structured setting either on or off the military installation.

Army children and youth programs

Visit MyArmyBenefits to review all of the programs available to Army families, such as:

  • Child development centers (ages 6 weeks-kindergarten): on-post child care centers that offer full-day, part-day and hourly care, where children can learn motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills through a special curriculum
  • Family child care homes (ages 4 weeks-10 years): on- and off-post child care from trained providers who provide full-day, part-day and hourly care and learning activities for children in a home environment
  • Instructional classes (all ages): a program designed to complement, expand, and support the academic, life skills, and athletic experiences children have within Army’s programs and at school
  • School-age services (ages 6-12 years): before- and after-school programs, weekend activities during the school year, summer care and camps during school vacations
  • Youth services (ages 11-18 years): programs designed specifically for middle school youth and teens to ensure that all of their physical, social and emotional needs are addressed

Marine Corps Community Services children and youth programs

  • The Marine Corps New Parent Support Program offers a wide range of support services to military families expecting a child or with a child up to age 5, including classes, home visits and referrals.
  • Child development programs, available for children 6 weeks through 12 years, include child development centers, school-age care and family child care, which offer full-day and part-time child care and, in some locations, hourly child care.
  • Youth programs, serving children ages 6 to 18, are available at many installation locations.
  • All programs are designed to enrich your child’s social, cognitive, emotional, physical and intellectual growth and development.

Navy children and youth programs

  • Navy child and youth programs offer developmental child care and youth recreational services for children and youth from infancy to 18 years.
  • Programs and services are designed to meet the needs of service members and their families.
  • Like other branches, the Navy provides child development centers, child development homes, school-age care, and youth and teen programs.

Air Force children and youth programs

Air Force child development and youth programs provide child care for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old in on-base child development centers and school-age programs in youth centers. Before- and after-school care and care on school holidays and during summer months is available for children 5 to 12 years old. The Air Force also has support for families outside of typical duty schedules and in geographically separated areas. It can include:

National Guard Family Program

Visit the National Guard Family Program to learn about youth programs available to National Guard families, such as:

  • Instructional programs that provide opportunities to learn new skills on a wide range of topics like photography, woodworking, science and technology, gardening, health and safety
  • Educational programs focused on citizenship, character building, public speaking and leadership
  • Community-based child care programs that provide care and nationally accredited programs for children ages 4 weeks to 12 years of age in community-based facilities and homes
  • School-age care program that provides care to children from kindergarten to 12 years of age before and after school and during holidays and summer vacations
  • 24-7 Child Care operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the needs of shift workers and families seeking flexible arrangements

Boys & Girls Clubs of America 

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Armed Forces partner to help support children of military families with youth development programs, curriculums and activities. Education and career programs include:

  • Mission Youth Outreach: a free membership to local Boys & Girls Clubs for military youth ages 6 to 18 who do not live near or have access to a military youth center
  • Money Matters: a program where youth ages 13 to 18 learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, start a small business, pay for college, and save and invest
  • diplomas2Degrees: a program to prepare high schoolers for college and career success
  • Summer Brain Gain: a program to encourage summer learning and keep kids engaged in reading
  • My.Future: a program that teaches foundational technology skills and develops computer literacy

4-H Military Partnerships

  • 4-H Military Partnerships bring the resources of the land grant universities including youth development professionals, research-based curricula, and high-quality training and technical assistance to the youth programs of the military.
  • Military youth can join 4-H clubs in their community and also participate in summer camps around the country.

Operation Purple® Camp

  • Operation Purple Camp from the National Military Family Association brings together military kids from all services and offers a Family Retreat that provides military families with a chance to reconnect and bond.

Department of Defense financial aid for schools with military kids

Through the Department of Defense’s Impact Aid for Military Connected School Districts, you can help your child’s school get more money.

The Department of Defense Education Activity also gives grants to school districts with school-age military children, such as:

  • A competitive grant program that works to boost student performance, provide professional growth for educators and add technology to programs in schools facing a growing number of military kids
  • An invitational grant program that aims to increase student success and ease the challenges military kids face because of their parents’ service

Our Military Kids grants

  • Our Military Kids offers grants to National Guard and reserve families during deployments. The grants are to help with children’s activities when families have trouble accessing support services from military installations.
  • Our Military Kids also offers grants to children of injured military members to pay for participation in sports, fine arts and academic tutoring.

Home-schooling benefits

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is an agreement among participating states to help alleviate some of the school transition problems that happen with frequent moves. The compact helps out in four major areas:

  • Enrollment: The compact helps with education records, immunizations and kindergarten and first grade entrance.
  • Placement and attendance: The compact ensures that your children won’t miss appropriate placement in required classes, advanced placement and special needs programs while awaiting evaluation at their new school.
  • Eligibility: The compact makes a smoother transition when it comes to your children’s eligibility.
  • Graduation: The compact ensures that a move won’t affect your high schooler’s graduation.

Military Child Education Coalition 

The mission of the MCEC is to ensure quality educational opportunities for all military- and veteran-connected children affected by mobility, transition and family separation. They offer a variety of programs, such as:

  • Student 2 Student programs that train civilian and military high school students to establish peer-based programs in their schools to support children transitioning to new schools
  • The Parent to Parent program that teaches parents to be strong advocates for their children on educational and social issues
  • The Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program that identifies exceptional young people through their participation in the Student 2 Student program
  • The Call for the Arts Program that encourages military children to express themselves through art to communicate and celebrate their military lives

Special needs consultations

Special needs consultants through Military OneSource can point you to benefits that are available for families with special needs. Your consultant can help connect you with information, resources, services and more, including:

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or view overseas calling options to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Appointments are available seven days a week for your family’s convenience.