Story and photo by Andrea Sutherland
In a Sept. 1 announcement, Army officials publicized plans for the final phase in standardizing child care fees among military services. The policy, which bases fees on total Family income for child and youth programs, goes into effect Oct. 1.
“The fee adjustment may not mean a pay increase for all categories,” said Armanda Hunt, Child, Youth and School Services coordinator at Fort Carson.
Hunt said depending upon the fee category, there may or may not be an increase in fees with this third phase standardization process. Some Families will experience a decrease in fees and others may remain at the same rate of pay.
“This started two years ago as a Department of the Army initiative,” said Hunt, adding that the new standardization of fees “supports quality of care.”
The Department of Defense policy began in the 2010-2011 school year with the Army Child and Youth Fee Policy and continues with the DOD Child and Youth Fee Policy, implemented for the 2012-2013 school year. Officials expect to fully standardize fees by the 2014-2015 school year.
In the September release, Army officials stressed the transition to single fees “provide consistent child care fees across the military services.”
The release also stated the standardization reduces “the disparity of Army child and youth fees currently charged across installations and to move to predictable and consistent child and youth fees Armywide.”
Across the Army, child care fees will change to meet the single fee standard; late monthly payment fees will increase; and discounts may occur for Families with multiple children enrolled in Family child care and either a child development center or school age care.
Parent fees provide for only a portion of the cost of CYSS operations, Hunt said. The Army pays a portion of the cost through subsidies, which allows for military Families to pay lower child care rates and receive quality child care services.
The policy waives registration fees and provides support for Families with deployed parents.
Under the Army Child Care Fee Policy Plan, up to 16 hours of respite child care per month for Families of deployed Soldiers or DA civilians will go into effect as well. Families of deployed Soldiers also receive a 20 percent child care fee reduction, a $2 per hour reduction for hourly child care after 16 hours of respite child care are exhausted and up to $150 off sports activity fees per child per deployment.
The policy also accounts for Families unable to access military child care on post due to distance or long waiting lists with the Army Fee Assistance, which helps subsidize child care costs with child care centers approved by the Community Based Program. The program helps Families pay for annual child registration fees, full- and part-time day care and other programs.
Contact Marisa Tejeda at 210-466-1057 or email email@example.com for more information on Army Fee Assistance. Contact CYSS at 526-4188 for more information on fees at Fort Carson.