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THE MILITARY FAMILY: Off-installation child care options now available for on-installation pricing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A new partnership is allowing military members to fulfill their mission without worrying about their children's care.

Two factors contribute to the greater need for child care: on-base child care centers with a shortage of workers -- not unlike in the civilian world -- and, added personnel at military installations, like Peterson and Schriever, as the Space Force branch filled its ranks.

But whereas civilians might have the luxury of immediate family nearby to help with childcare, military members are less likely to have that resource.

"Our waitlists are extensive," said Jacenta Maynor, the Child and Youth Coordinator at Peterson Space Force Base. "All age groups need capacity to find care.  We had to come up with some different ideas."

One of two Child Development Centers on Peterson Space Force Base

Enter community-contracted child care. 

In the partnership, the Department of Defense subsidizes the costs of off-base childcare centers, at on-base prices.  Prices are set, according to total family income and number of children.

"Our men and women in uniform, and their families, have enough to worry about… basic necessities shouldn't be among them," said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in a taped video release, pertaining to the "Taking Care of Our People" initiative.

The off-installation child care is available to any member of the military, regardless of the branch. 

In November 2023, Carlton Academy, located off Powers and Dublin, became the first off-base child care center to partner in such a way with the military.  It remains the only community-contracted child care center in the Pikes Peak region.  For the veteran-owned Carlton Academy, the partnership was a no-brainer.

"It's stressful, moving to a new state, a new city, new position, a new school. And child care, we don't want that to have that be stressful for them.  We want to make that an 'easy as we can' process," said Amber Kinworthy, Assistant Director of Carlton Academy.  "We're there through the process. Whatever questions they have, we're going to help them through it."

Learning Stations at Carlton Academy

To apply for child care, military families need to create an account on the Military Child Care website. From there, parents can choose locations. 

Additionally, if you own a childcare facility, and are interested in contracting with the military, you can begin the application process here.

Article Topic Follows: Military

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Heather Skold

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