Child Care Aware of America

Updated: November 2, 2022

Table of Contents

    Child Care Aware of America is a nonprofit program designed to help families, including military families, who need help with childcare. The agency provides referrals, tools and resources nationwide.

    These services are available to a variety of communities including military families and Department of Defense civilian families. Child Care Aware of America offers help for those who do not have access to on-base childcare facilities and has a special respite care program for those participating in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).

    This agency is a nonprofit, national membership-based program. It is not an entitlement or Department of Defense-administered benefit.

    What Services Are Available from Child Care Aware of America?

    family-care-options

    Photo by Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney,
    20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    The agency offers service-specific programs to military families. The services, funding, and availability may vary depending on funding, geographic location, and other factors.

    Child Care Aware of America advises applicants that funding issues, wait lists, and other variables may affect application processing and availability of childcare assistance.

    These individual programs may seem quite similar, but there are some differences worth noting depending on the branch of service. It’s not safe to assume that the same rules, terms, or availability for these programs with one branch of service translates to identical options for other branches.

    How Do I Sign Up for Child Care Fee Assistance?

    Select your branch of service at the Child Care Aware official site and follow the service-specific instructions for your branch of the military. You may be required to supply one or more of the following at application time or soon thereafter:

    • Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
    • Statement of nonavailability of on-base childcare
    • Orders
    • Spouse’s pay stubs and/or school schedule
    • Self-certification form
    • Military Installation Information Request form
    • Provider application documents

    Child Care Aware of America Navy Programs

    Child Care fee assistance for Navy families is basically the difference between an off-base childcare provider’s monthly fee, (which has a “provider cap” depending on the location and the nature of the childcare provided) and “the DoD parent fee for similar childcare services based on locality and income category,” according to the official site.

    Navy families who select a childcare provider charging an amount higher than the cap will be responsible for paying the difference. There is a need-based qualification for the program.

    For example, when the difference between the actual childcare provider fee and the DoD parent fee is less than $25 per month, fee assistance reimbursement is not available.

    If a dependent child is enrolled at full-time status, but the spouse is employed part-time, a reduced amount will apply rather than the full-time fee rate.

    The Navy version of the childcare fee assistance program requires the military family to sign-up for a waiting list. Once signed up for the waiting list, military members should visit https://militarychildcare.com/ “in order to make your requests for military-sponsored childcare” according to the official site. Those with no on-base Child Development Center or Child Development Home provider will be considered for eligibility once space is available.

    Eligible Navy members for this program include:

    • Active Duty
    • Reserve Active Duty
    • S. Navy Civilians
    • Survivors of Combat Fallen Warriors
    • Active Duty Combat Wounded Warriors

    Child Care Aware of America Army Programs

    The Army programs available include subsidies for eligible dependent children “enrolled in quality commercial childcare programs throughout the United States” according to the official site.

    Army subsidy levels are calculated using the total income of the military family and the subsidies are paid directly to the care provider. The subsidy amount is based on the difference between what the Army family would pay for on-post childcare and the amount of community-based childcare.

    There is a $1,500 per child / per month cap. The Army family pays the on-post childcare parent fee plus any amount above and beyond the $1,500 cap.

    Minimum Childcare Hours and Continuity of Care

    A requirement of the Army Fee Assistance Program is that non-school-age children must receive 16 hours of childcare per week. School-age have a minimum care requirement of six hours per week during the school year, plus 16 hours of care per week minimum during summer break periods.

    Army parents should know that Army childcare fee assistance, “Does not cover the drop-in care for non-school age children or school-age children on breaks,” such as snow days, holidays, etc.

    In 2017, the Army version of this program adopted a “Continuity of Care” model. The official site says Army families receiving childcare assistance and received, “A temporary approval to use licensed-only care will be eligible to continue care with their approved provider.”

    Army families approved to use their provider, “Will not have to change providers upon expiration of their signed approval letter to find MCCYN eligible care.”

    Eligible Army recipients for this program include:

    • Active Duty/Deployed Active Duty
    • Guard/Reserve Activated
    • Guard/Reserve Activated Deployed
    • Army Civilians
    • Guard Technicians/Reserve Technicians

    Child Care Aware of America Air Force Programs

    Childcare fee assistance for Air Force families is the difference between the community childcare provider’s fee (which is capped) and the DoD parent fee for similar childcare services based on locality and income category.

    There is a need-based criteria for fee assistance. When the difference between the actual childcare provider fee and the DoD parent fee is less than $25 per month, fee assistance reimbursement is not available.

    If a dependent child is enrolled full-time status, but the spouse is employed part-time, a reduced amount will apply rather than the full-time fee rate.

    Eligible Air Force recipients for this program include:

    • Active Duty
    • Reserve/Guard Active Duty
    • S. Air Force Dual Status Technicians
    • Survivors of Combat Fallen Warriors
    • Active Duty Wounded Warriors

    Child Care Aware of America Marine Corps Programs

    The description for the Marine Corps program offering childcare fee subsidies is different than for the other branches of the military.

    Once it is determined that military-sponsored childcare is not available, Marine families may then apply for assistance through Child Care Aware of America.

    Eligible Recipients for this program include:

    • Active Duty
    • Reserve Active Duty
    • Combat Wounded Warriors
    • Survivors of Combat Fallen Warriors

    Does Child Care Aware of America Provide Child Care Fee Assistance for Those Deployed Overseas?

    There is a program for all four branches of military service called Operation Military Child Care (OMCC) which provides fee assistance for those who are deployed and for reserve members who meet program requirements.

    The childcare providers may be required to be enrolled in the OMCC program; you can search for a provider but are required to contact Child Care Aware of America once you have located one to verify eligibility by calling 1-800-424-2246.

    This program may vary in requirements, specifications, and other details depending on the branch of service.

    Is There Help Available for Those Enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)?

    Child Care Aware of America offers some type of respite care fee assistance for qualifying families who are part of EFMP for qualifying Navy and Air Force families.

    At the time of this writing, the official site does not feature similar programs for Marine Corps or Army families. The Navy version has a wait list for those enrolled in EFMP and Navy families are directed to call first at 1-800-424-2246 to determine waitlist requirements, time frames, etc.

    Air Force members who have children in EFMP who need respite childcare services and fee assistance should call 1-800-424-2246 to discuss program requirements, fee reimbursement, etc.

    Army and Marine Corps Respite Care Services

    Respite programs offer no-cost, hourly childcare to support “unique childcare needs” for qualifying Army families. There is a Marine version of this program for wounded and fallen Marines and survivors of fallen Marines.

    The requirements and services offered will differ between the two programs, but in general families may be eligible for up to 16 hours of childcare per child, per month.

    The Army program description states that respite care services can be used for the following purposes:

    • Attending appointments
    • Running errands
    • Taking a much-needed break
    • Nights, weekends, and overnight care
    • Respite care may also be used during the day, but it must be outside of the regularly subsidized care if the family already participates in the Army Fee Assistance Program

    The Marine Corps version of the respite care program merely describes it being available for “non-regularly scheduled childcare.”

    Are Child Care Aware of America Services Available Overseas?

    The Child Care Aware of America official site does not mention any services being available outside the United States. Military families with deployed service members may qualify for assistance for stateside-based childcare depending on the branch of service, funding, availability, and other factors.

    How Do I Become An Authorized Care Provider for Child Care Aware of America Fee Assistance Programs?

    Childcare providers who wish to be registered in the Child Care Aware of America program must have a valid state license, receive yearly inspections, and pass an FBI background check.

    All applicants are required to meet Defense Department eligibility rules and any additional regulations as stipulated by each branch of service. Furthermore, the applicant must have a state licensing inspection in the past 12 months leading up to the application that is “free of disqualifying incidents.”

    For those who qualify, the following supporting documentation is required:

    • Provider Fee Assistance Application
    • Copy of state license and state licensing inspection report
    • W-9 Form
    • Copy of Employer Identification Number (EIN) Certificate
    • Provider Rate Verification Form
    • Provider User Agreement Form
    • Copy of national accreditation certificate

    Applicants may submit a paper form or apply online. Visit the nonprofit’s website for additional information and read their Child Care Aware blog for relevant articles.

    If you need assistance claiming your benefits, you can speak with veteran service organizations who can help you with this process.


    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News


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