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Wright-Patt child development programs implement DOD active-duty priority policy

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Child Development Programs, including the New Horizon Child Development Center, began making children of active-duty service members a top priority starting Sept. 1. A new Department of Defense policy establishes three tiers of user eligibility, based on the sponsor’s status. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Child Development Programs, including the New Horizon Child Development Center, began making children of active-duty service members a top priority starting Sept. 1. A new Department of Defense policy establishes three tiers of user eligibility, based on the sponsor’s status. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Child Development Programs began making children of active-duty service members a top priority starting Sept. 1. A new Department of Defense policy establishes three tiers of user eligibility, based on the sponsor’s status. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Child Development Programs began making children of active-duty service members a top priority starting Sept. 1. A new Department of Defense policy establishes three tiers of user eligibility, based on the sponsor’s status. (U.S. Air Force photo/R.J. Oriez)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Child development programs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are now following a Department of Defense policy that makes providing child care for children of active-duty service members a top priority. The policy went into effect on Sept. 1.

Kristine Freels, 88th Force Support Squadron director, said child development center staff members are currently assessing their waitlist to determine which military members are on it, how long they have been on it and how long it could take for them to receive care before further determinations can be made as to prioritization of the list. Wright-Patt’s child development centers, youth center and family child care are affected by the policy.

“With our COVID-19 ratios, we are not making many changes at all right now,” Freels said. “We’ve had to decrease our staff/child ratios in the centers; we are caring for fewer than half the children we would under normal circumstances. We have fewer children in the classrooms so we can minimize groups and also ensure there is enough space between people,” she said.

An official letter outlining the policy change was mailed to parents on Aug. 24. Customers losing access to care will receive a second letter giving them 45 days’ notice to find alternative care as situations develop.

The updated DOD policy applies to new child care requests, wait list management and program enrollment. It establishes three eligibility tiers for care, with the order of precedence within each tier based on the sponsor’s status.

  • Priority 1A: Child Development Programs direct-care staff
  • Priority 1B: Single or dual active-duty members; single or dual Guard or Reserve members on active duty or inactive duty training status; and service members with a full-time working spouse
  • Priority 1C: Active-duty members, or Guard or Reserve members on active duty or inactive duty training status, with part-time working spouse or a spouse seeking employment
  • Priority 1D: Active-duty members, or Guard or Reserve members on active duty or inactive duty training status, with a spouse enrolled in a post-secondary education institution on a full-time basis
  • Priority 2: DOD civilians
  • Priority 3: Space available

The process for child care requests and waitlist management will remain the same. Families will apply for and request child care through MilitaryChildCare.com (MCC).

Child development programs will use MCC as the method to manage child care spaces, active care options and offerings.

For more information, contact Susan Anderson, 88 FSS Child and Youth Flight chief, at 937-713-3320 or susan.anderson.2@us.af.mil.