ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --
The Department of the Air Force is taking immediate action to further support Airmen, Guardians and their dependents in response to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's memo "Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families" issued Sept. 22.
Effective Oct. 1, DAF Child Development Program direct-care employees will receive a 100% childcare fee waiver for their first child enrolled in installation Child Development Programs.
All additional children of direct care staff will receive a 25% discount, calculated after the multi-child discount is applied. Finally, other Child and Youth Program employees are also now eligible for a 25% discount for each child enrolled in the installation Child Development Programs, such as receptionists, custodial staff and cooks.
"As I've traveled to dozens of bases around the world, I've listened to our Airmen and Guardians discuss the challenges they and their families face. Secretary Austin has personally engaged all of the Department of Defense's senior leaders to address these challenges, and the DAF is moving forward quickly to help our Airmen, Guardians and their families," said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall.
This fee waiver is meant to bolster the number of talented applicants and incentivize current Child Development Program direct-care employees to remain in their positions, ultimately reducing personnel expenses related to onboarding, background checks, and extensive training of new staff members. Additionally, its goal is to increase capacity within Child Development Centers, school age care facilities and family child care homes, and shorten wait lists.
Since the onset of COVID, challenges in recruiting care providers within a larger national shortage of child care workers impacted the DAF. Incentivizing employment and making the Department's child care program an "employer of choice" will improve the ability to operate CDCs at full capacity and provide care to more families.
Military spouses comprise about 30% of Child Development Program staff, which means child care discounts can improve military family economic security. Employee child care discounts can be an effective recruitment and retention tool that will help to maximize existing child care capacity, reduce wait lists for care, and support the military mission and spouse employment.
"The Department of the Air Force is implementing additional child care discounts because we're doing everything possible to ensure our CDCs are staffed. We want our Airmen and Guardians focused on the mission — not worrying about child care availability," said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones.
Individuals who are interested in a caregiver position with the Child and Youth Programs should contact their local Force Support Squadron Civilian Personnel Office or visit www.usajobs.gov for additional information.
For more efforts the DoD enacted, visit the Taking Care of Our People page.