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  • MCC System Maintenance

    System maintenance will be conducted on MilitaryChildCare.com (MCC) on 20 April from 1000-1400 ET. During this time, MCC will not be available.

About Military Child Care

Military child care serves as the quality standard model for the nation and provides a comprehensive child care system, designed to address the child care needs of military families wherever the mission takes them.

A servicewoman and a school-aged boy read from a book

Introduction

About Military Child Care

The DoD is committed to ensuring quality child care is available and affordable for DoD and military families worldwide.

The military child care system serves as a model for the nation. Programs offer the highest quality child care, with offerings designed to meet the unique needs of military members, such as care provided during non-traditional hours or over the weekends.

DoD offers various types of programs, such as on-installation child development and school age centers, family child care for a more home-like setting, and MCCYN fee assistance to make community-based care more affordable for families.

To ensure care is affordable, the DoD establishes annual fee guidelines, so a family’s cost is based on their Total Family Income.

A uniformed Marine holds a young boy

Introduction 2

The DoD created MilitaryChildCare.com (MCC) to streamline the search for child care process and connect families to information and quality child care resources.

MCC places families in the driver’s seat of their child care search. Families can conduct unlimited, customized searches to find child care providers close to home or work and request care at any time, from any location. This flexibility allows families to identify all available child care options, wherever their mission takes them.

A servicemember blows soap bubbles with children

Child Care and School Programs

Military families like yours can access a range of child care and school programs. Click on a program name to learn more about the program and how it is designed to support military families.

Program Quality Standards

Raising children to grow into healthy, productive members of society is no small feat and truly does take a village. That’s why the DoD is committed to providing military families affordable, high-quality child and youth care in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. High-quality care promotes positive social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development for children. High-quality care that’s also easily accessible and affordable supports parents’ mission readiness and provides families financial peace of mind. 

To best address all DoD connected families’ unique needs, the military child care system offers several affordable options that all meet rigorous standards for quality: 

  • Military-operated programs are based in child care and school age centers. They must be DoD certified and meet national accreditation requirements.
  • Military Family Child Care (FCC) providers care for a small group of children in their own private homes as a quality alternative to center-based care. All providers are DoD-certified and monitored regularly.
  • The Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) program partners with community child care providers to offer DoD connected families greater access to high-quality, affordable care. Providers participating in the MCCYN program must have a state license and either have a national accreditation or participate in the MCCYN-PLUS program.
  • Designed to support families with nontraditional work schedules, Child Care in Your Home (CCYH) is a DoD pilot program that offers eligible families fee assistance to pay for care provided in their home. Individual providers participating in the CCYH program must complete all required training, obtain a favorable background check, and agree to quarterly home visits.

Quality Standards for Military-Operated Programs

Military-operated programs are based in child care and school age centers. All programs are DoD certified and accredited through a national accrediting organization. Families can view a program’s online inspection report when reviewing the program profile in MCC. 

What criteria does a program meet to be DoD certified?

Programs serving young children, school-aged children, and youth must meet specific criteria receive the DoD Certificate to Operate. These criteria cover the following general programmatic areas: 

  • Facilities, health, safety, and risk management – This includes procedures regarding both program logistics and staff-child interactions.  
    • Program logistics are things such fire prevention, food service health and sanitation standards, medication administration and storage, staff background checks, and staff to child/youth ratios/group sizes.  
    • Procedures guiding staff-child interactions focus on such things as child abuse prevention, identification, and reporting; sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) prevention; and inclusion practices for children with special needs.
  • Programming – This includes things such as meal service; curriculum, learning activities, and materials; positive youth development; communication with families; parent involvement; and integration of family, school, and community efforts. 

To ensure consistent child care quality, each military-operated program undergoes at least four unannounced inspections each year, including:

  • An annual comprehensive fire and safety inspection
  • An annual comprehensive health and sanitation inspection
  • A multi-disciplinary team inspection that includes a parent representative
  • A military-service headquarters inspection. 

Select the relevant link below to review the inspection criteria programs must meet to receive the DoD Certificate to Operate.

What is national accreditation?

Child care programs that earn national accreditation demonstrate that they meet standards for higher quality child care that go beyond a state’s minimum licensing standards. This process includes self-study, continued program development, and assessment by an independent professional accrediting agency. Each DoD program must be accredited by one of the following accrediting agencies: 

Quality Standards for Family Child Care

Family child care providers care for a small group of children in their own private homes. All military certified family child care providers are certified professionals who are licensed, have obtained favorable background checks, and maintain a DoD Certificate to Operate.  

Each installation’s FCC program ensures all providers complete a comprehensive training program that promotes developmentally appropriate intellectual, social, emotional, and physical learning.

What criteria does an FCC provider meet to be DoD certified?

DoD FCC programs follow some of the highest standards for care in the nation. Standards are typically more stringent than state standards, making it easier for applicants who are required to be both state and military certified. The DoD certification process ensures that:

  • Providers are held to the same high standard as other CYP professionals
  • Regulations limit the number of children in care
  • Children are actively engaged in developmentally appropriate activities
  • Activities focus on school readiness as well as social and emotional development
  • The program operates in a safe, nurturing home environment. 

For more details, review the inspection criteria FCC providers must meet to receive the DoD Certificate to Operate.

What screenings, inspections, and checks are required of FCC providers?

DoD FCC program standards are typically more stringent than state standards and are aligned with some of the highest national standards for quality. Required screenings, inspections, and checks include: 

  • Criminal history background checks for the applicant and all residents over 18 years old
  • Health screening and proof of immunizations for the provider and residents
  • Home inspections for fire, safety, sanitation, and preventative medicine
  • Monthly visits by an FCC staff member to observe, mentor, and provide support
  • Pet certificate if the provider has a pet to show that it has the appropriate vaccinations and is safe to be around children
  • Proof of liability insurance.

Note: If a provider is located off base, the state may require additional licensing, registration, or inspections in addition to those required by the DoD. To learn more about your state’s licensing requirements, visit ChildCare.gov to see your state’s resources page

Quality Standards for MCCYN

The Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) program partners with quality child care providers to offer DoD connected families greater access to care. Providers participating in the MCCYN fee assistance program must have a state child care license and either be accredited by a national accreditation organization or also participate in the MCCYN-PLUS program.

MCCYN requires community providers to meet these standards to ensure children receive a similar level of quality care through MCCYN as they would at a military-operated program. 

What is child care licensing?

Although it does not guarantee quality, child care licensing is the main way states regulate child care to ensure the health and safety of children in child care. All providers participating in the MCCYN program must have a valid state child care license that covers all ages served at the center or home. While child care licensing standards vary by state, all are federally required to set baseline health and safety requirements that providers must meet to operate legally.  To learn more about child care licensing and how your state licenses child care, visit ChildCare.gov to see your state’s resources page

What is national accreditation?

Child care programs that earn national accreditation demonstrate that they meet standards for higher quality child care that go beyond a state’s minimum licensing standards. This process includes self-study, continued program development, and assessment by an independent professional accrediting agency. Providers participating in a DoD-funded MCCYN program must obtain accreditation from one of the following recognized national accrediting organizations: 

*Note: Accreditation must include the early learning component to meet the MCCYN requirement. 

Family Child Care providers must also have achieved one of the following credentials: 

What is MCCYN-PLUS?

DoD created the MCCYN-PLUS program to ensure DoD connected families have access to quality child care in locations where accredited child care is limited. Through the program, providers have the opportunity to participate in MCCYN if they meet the required quality rating level for that state. 

What are state quality ratings?

Many states use a child care quality rating system to help families to easily identify high-quality child care programs when searching for care. These ratings help measure additional program features that go beyond minimum child care licensing requirements to support higher quality care. Like rating systems for public schools or hotels, states award child care quality ratings to child care and school age programs when they meet a set of defined program quality standards. Most states use symbols, such as stars, to easily indicate levels of quality. Programs earn higher ratings when the state determines they have met more quality standards.  

To learn more and quality ratings, visit ChildCare.gov.

Where is MCCYN-PLUS available?

DoD continues to work with states to expand participation in MCCYN-PLUS. The program is currently available in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida: Miami-Dade County, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Which Community Providers Can Participate in MCCYN-PLUS?

To qualify for participation in MCCYN-PLUS, providers must meet the following minimum standards:

  • Be state licensed
  • Participate in the state’s quality rating system and have achieved the minimum rating as determined by the DoD
  • Demonstrate continuous quality improvement until the provider can achieve the highest rating or accreditation.

For more information on MCCYN-PLUS, review the MCCYN-PLUS Parent Pamphlet

Quality Standards for CCYH

Designed to support families with nontraditional work schedules, Child Care in Your Home (CCYH) is a DoD pilot program that provides eligible families with fee assistance to pay for care provided in their home. The DoD has empowered a third party administrator to validate that providers participating in the CCYH fee assistance program successfully complete and have favorable outcomes for the following background checks:

  • Fingerprint-based FBI criminal history background check
  • State criminal history repository check
  • State child abuse and neglect repository
  • State sex offender registry.

If the provider previously completed these background checks, they must be no more than five years old.

The third party administrator will also ensure that each in-home provider completes 32 hours of training covering topics such as CPR and first aid, child abuse prevention, safe sleep, and care for children with special needs if needed.

In addition, the third party administrator will conduct quarterly monitoring visits to provide ongoing oversight to ensure children receive high-quality care.