Navigating Child Care Changes During COVID-19

Woman playing inside with two children

Current as of April 6, 2020

Meeting challenges is normal part of MilLife, but with so much changing daily as a result of the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic, sometimes it’s hard to know which problem to tackle first. If child care issues are on top of your list right now, Military OneSource is here to help you find the answers you need.

Because the impact of COVID-19 is unique and specific to each location, the best place to start if you have questions about child care centers or programs is to contact your local installation. Local commanders have the authority to respond to conditions in their area by implementing safety precautions they deem necessary to effectively carry out their respective missions, protect their forces, and meet the critical needs of their people and families. Every person’s situation is unique, but everyone can get support for their questions three ways: go through contacts at your installation, call Military OneSource or review information here.

Child care questions and answers related to COVID-19:

Is fee assistance still available? add

If the child development center is closed or open only to mission-essential personnel, can a non-essential family apply for fee assistance without withdrawing from child care? add

What systems and resources are there to support spouses of deployed service members in the event they become sick with COVID-19 and are no longer able to care for their children while their spouse is deployed? add

What other resources are available to help me with stress and pressures of the Coronavirus situation? add

If you have general questions about child care programs, the Department of Defense offers a variety of options including installation child development centers, school-age care programs, and family child care homes. There are also programs available for children with special needs. Information about military child care fee assistance can be found at Child Care Aware.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Department of Defense Summer Camps

teenagers work together on a craft project

Have some activities planned to keep your kids busy, engaged and having fun when school lets out. Department of Defense summer camps may be a great addition to your child’s summer lineup. Make it a summer to remember by checking out these potential camping experiences:

Teen adventure and science camps

There are teen adventure camps specifically for military pre-teens and teens available across the United States, from Washington to New York. These camps can be a great option for a teen interested in adding some excitement to their summer. Understand that:

  • Youth ages 10-18 can enjoy adventure camps partnered with private organizations around the country.
  • There are multiple camps to choose from.
  • Camps include fantastic wilderness excursions like sailing, kayaking and survival camp.

Available camps can be found at Military Teen Adventure Camps, 4-H Military Partnerships and DOD Starbase.

Installation camps

Many military installations offer summer camps for different groups. They may include general camps, interest-based camps or deployment camps.

To find a camp or summer activity on your installation, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, choose “Program or Service” from the drop-down menu, type in “Youth Programs/Centers” and then proceed with your zip code or installation.

The camaraderie of camp might be just what your military children need.

  • Military life can be challenging for military kids, and summer camps can provide a safe space while teaching skills to navigate the ups and downs.
  • Your child can build a support network of other military youth who may have similar experiences.

For more information about summer camps or activities, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or connect via Live Chat 24/7/365. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.