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Child Care in Your Home Fee Assistance Pilot Program8 minute read • Dec. 2, 2021
The Defense Department recognizes that child care is a critical support for military families with children. That’s why the department is expanding the Child Care in Your Home pilot program, formerly named In-Home Child Care Fee Assistance, to help military families secure the best care for their families. The DOD understands that military parents cannot be focused and available for their missions without safe and reliable care in place for their children.
Furthering its commitment to provide additional child care options to meet the needs of service members and military families, the DOD has expanded year 2 of the Child Care in Your Home fee assistance program into additional markets with long waitlists and high demand in order to grant fee assistance for families that have determined that full-time child care in their home is the best solution to meet their needs.
Child Care in Your Home program details
The Child Care in Your Home pilot program provides fee assistance to service members who utilize in-home child care providers and covers full-time care for a minimum of 30 hours to a maximum of 60 hours of child care weekly. Care is not limited to Monday through Friday or time of day. This allows in-home providers, such as nannies, to be used for rotating shifts and weekend care to meet the nontraditional schedules of military families.
A third party administrator oversees the program administration of the five-year pilot program and:
- Verifies service member and provider eligibility
- Distributes fee assistance payments to approved providers
- Ensures providers successfully complete and maintain current background check requirements
- Provides information on tax requirements to the parent who will be the employer and to the in-home care provider or employee
- Ensures that in-home child care providers complete 32 hours of initial training covering topics such as CPR and first aid, child abuse prevention, safe sleep, and care for children with special needs if needed
Service member eligibility and registration
Military families currently on the MilitaryChildCare.com waitlist or requesting child care via MilitaryChildCare.com in the regions listed below are eligible to participate in the program. If families are not yet enrolled but need child care, they can create an account at MilitaryChildCare.com and submit their request for care. The Child Care in Your Home pilot program has a limited number of child care spaces.
The first year of the program focused on regions with highest demand and longest waitlists for child care. Those regions were the National Capital Region; Hawaii; San Diego, California; Norfolk, Virginia and San Antonio, Texas. The second year of the program expands to include Colorado Springs, Colorado; Seattle/Tacoma, Washington; Jacksonville/Mayport, Florida; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Fayetteville, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Eligible military families in these regions include:
- Single or dual active-duty members
- Single or dual Guard or reserve members on active duty
- Active-duty members with a full-time working spouse
- Guard or reserve members on active duty with a full-time working spouse
- Active-duty members with a spouse enrolled in a postsecondary institution on a full-time basis
- Guard or reserve members on active duty with a spouse enrolled in a postsecondary institution on a full-time basis
Child care provider eligibility
Child Care in Your Home providers must be eligible to work as a child care provider in the United States (e.g., be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
- Read, speak and write English
Provider eligibility has been expanded to include lawful permanent residents and family members:
- A lawful permanent resident is a foreign-born person who may permanently live and work in the U.S. but is not yet a U.S. citizen. For additional details about making this selection for care, see the IRS website.
- A family member is defined as a person who is related to each child by blood, marriage or adoption, such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great grandparent, first cousin, niece, nephew, grandniece, grandnephew, great aunt, great uncle or an older sibling. Family members must be at least 18 years of age. A family member who serves as the child care provider in your home may not be the parent, stepparent or legal guardian of the child or children in care. All providers, even those preselected by or related to the family, must complete all training and background check requirements established for the program. Family members who are hired to care for children may not live with or be financially dependent on the family where the care is provided.
Families will be responsible for finding their own in-home child care providers and may use the expanded child care service available through Military OneSource to search providers.
Ensuring safe and nurturing care for children
To ensure family safety, the DOD will require in-home child care providers to successfully pass the following requirements for background checks:
- Fingerprint-based FBI criminal history background check
- State criminal history repository check
- State child abuse and neglect repository
- State sex offender registry
Each in-home child care provider must complete 32 hours of training covering topics such as CPR and first aid, child abuse prevention, safe sleep, and care for children with special needs if needed. The provider and family must also commit to quarterly monitoring and oversight.
In addition, service members and providers participating in the program must agree to program oversight provided by the department’s third party administrator through periodic home visits.
Understanding fee assistance
The amount of fee assistance provided per child is based on:
- The fee a family would pay if receiving care on the installation (based on total family income)
- The monthly rate charged by the in-home provider
- The cumulative provider rate cap determined for the fee assistance calculation
Each family is responsible for paying their provider for all additional costs the fee assistance does not cover, including the parents’ portion of their military child care fee. In addition, families are responsible for covering fees associated with hiring the employee, conducting background checks and other fees that may arise outside of monthly child care costs.
A customer care expert through our third party administrator can help each family understand its unique out-of-pocket fees.
The IRS has determined that nannies and most household workers are employees (versus independent contractors) of the family for which they work. As an employer, the service member is responsible for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. The program administrator shall provide the service member with information on the numerous tax-related requirements that must be taken into consideration when hiring an in-home provider. These requirements include:
- Identifying and calculating taxes to withhold each pay period
- Preparing year-end tax documents
- Monitoring ever-changing household employment tax law
- Recommending that service members consult with payroll and tax compliance experts
The administrator shall also provide information to the in-home provider on tax requirements of the gross wages received. Depending on whether the fee assistance is considered taxable or non-taxable, as legislated by Congress, this may also include the in-home provider’s fee assistance income. Parents who employ care providers in their home can read more about these tax implications or reach out to Military OneSource tax consultants with any questions about tax implications.
Learn more about program registration and fee assistance
For more information about military child care programs and to request fee assistance through the Child Care in Your Home Fee Assistance pilot program, visit MilitaryChildCare.com.
Additional child care solutions
If your region is not part of the program or your family is not eligible for the Child Care in Your Home pilot program, the DOD provides a range of other child care solutions for your family including:
- On-installation care including child development centers, child care in certified Family Child Care homes, and before- and after-school care programs. Learn about what child and youth program options are available to you and your family at MilitaryChildCare.com.
- Military child care fee assistance offered through the Child Care Aware® website. This includes community-based or off-installation child care.
- Free access to a subscription service that connects families with hourly care. Learn more about Military OneSource expanded hourly child care options.
If you have questions about military child care or would like assistance navigating the programs and options available to you, Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to help answer your questions and connect you with the resources you need. Call 800-342-9647, call us OCONUS or schedule a live chat.