Child Care is a Readiness Issue
Military families commonly struggle to find high quality, affordable child care. While a lack of affordable child care is a national issue, the problem is even more acute for service members, who move frequently, often work irregular hours, or live far from extended family.
Here’s What We Know
- Nearly 40 percent of service members have children.
- The largest cohort of military children (38%) are under age five.
- Seventy percent of military-connected kids are under the age of 12.
No Access Means Difficult Choices
The service member parent may have to miss work, threatening the readiness of an entire unit. For many military members, however, that simply isn’t an option. More often, the burden falls on military spouses.
Child Care Fee Assistance Can Help
Child care can be costly. There are resources available for military families to relieve some of the financial burden. If you don’t have access to on-base child care, apply for military child care fee assistance, which will provide a stipend to your child care provider, reducing your monthly bill.
The Burden Falls On Military Spouses
Finding employment is already a challenge for military spouses, who move every two to three years. A lack of affordable child care makes that challenge even greater. Many military spouses report that they have left the workforce because child care was unavailable or too expensive. At a time when most families rely on two incomes to make ends meet, a military spouse’s inability to work due to a lack of child care can have a significant impact on a family’s financial well-being.
A shortage of high quality, affordable child care is a national problem. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. But there are steps DoD and Congress could take to ease the stress on military families.
Our Child Care Priorities
- Institute public-private partnerships between installations and community childcare providers to increase the number of spaces for military families.
- Allocate funds to construct and renovate installation child development centers.
- Expand funding for and participation in the child care fee assistance program.
- Allow service members to participate in dependent care flexible savings accounts.
Legislation We Support
Allows an employer a work opportunity tax credit for hiring military spouses and requires DoD to implement flexible spending arrangements that permit members of the Armed Forces to use basic pay and compensation to pay on a pretax basis for dependent child care.