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Family Eligibility & Priority Guidelines

Introduction

DoD provides military child care to support families so they can fulfill their military or DoD-related duties. DoD has established three basic factors to help determine access to military child care. When you request care, MCC uses these factors to determine if you are eligible to receive child care and your child's priority on the waitlist. 

Family Eligibility

To participate in military child care, your family must meet the basic eligibility requirements defined by the DoD. To qualify as an eligible sponsor, you must be one of the listed sponsor types.

  • Child Development Program Staff
  • Active Duty Combat-Related Wounded Warrior
    • To qualify, the sponsor must be in active duty status and require hospitalization, extensive rehabilitation, or significant care from a spouse or care provider and require full-time child care. Visit the FAQ page for more information.
  • Active Duty Military
  • Active Duty Coast Guard Personnel
  • Guard/Reserve Member Serving on Active Duty Orders
  • DoD Civilian
  • Coast Guard Civilian
  • Gold Star Spouse (Combat-Related)
  • DoD Contractor
  • Other Federal Employee
  • Deactivated Guard
  • Military Retiree

Family Type

MCC uses a combination of your eligible sponsor type and spouse status to assign a military family type to your household. MCC looks at all the information you enter to determine the family type that gives your family the highest priority for care.

In addition, to your sponsor information, MCC considers if you are single, or, if you are married, your spouse's status. If you are married, you will provide information about your spouse that helps determine your military family type.

We will consider if your spouse is:

  • Active duty military, a Coast Guard member, or a Guard/Reserve member serving on active duty
  • Working. And if so, if they are working full-time or part-time. DoD uses the following definitions to determine if your spouse is employed full-time or part-time:
    • Full-Time: working at least 30 hours per week or 100 hours per month. If working fewer hours, to qualify, you must also be enrolled in post-secondary education.
    • Part-Time: working less than 30 hours per week or 100 hours per month.
  • Enrolled in a post-secondary program either full- or part-time
    • You will be asked to provide documentation that shows your spouse is enrolled full-time. If they are enrolled part-time and not working, then you will select non-working.
  • Currently looking for employment
    • If your spouse is seeking employment and your child is enrolled in care, you must get a job within 90 days, or your child could be removed from care.
  • Not currently working

Priority for Care

Military programs must serve the highest priority families first to ensure the most mission-critical families receive access to military child care. To ensure programs meet this requirement, DoD prioritizes your family based on your family type.

The information below lists the military family types in priority order.

Priority 1A: Child Development Program Staff

All families where the sponsor is a Child Development Program Staff member will have the same priority regardless of spouse status.

Priority 1B: Single/Dual Military and Military with a Full-Time Working Spouse

  1. Active Duty Combat-Related Wounded Warrior
  2. Single/Dual Active Duty Military/Coast Guard
  3. Single/Dual Guard/Reserve Serving on Active Duty
  4. Active Duty Military/Coast Guard with Full-Time Working Spouse
  5. Guard/Reserve on Active Duty with Full-Time Working Spouse

Priority 1C: Military with a Part-Time Working Spouse or Spouse Seeking Employment

  1. Active Duty Military/Coast Guard with Part-Time Working Spouse or Spouse Seeking Employment
  2. Guard/Reserve on Active Duty with Part-Time Working Spouse or Spouse Seeking Employment

Priority 1D: Military with a Spouse Enrolled Full-Time Student Spouse

  1. Active Duty Military/Coast Guard with Full-Time Student Spouse
  2. Guard/Reserve on Active Duty with Full-Time Student Spouse

Priority 2: Single/Dual DoD Civilians or DoD Civilian with a Full-Time Working Spouse

  1. Single/Dual DoD or Coast Guard Civilian
  2. DoD or Coast Guard Civilian with Full-Time Working Spouse

Priority 3: Space Available

  1. Active Duty Military/Coast Guard or Guard/Reserve on Active Duty with Non-Working Spouse
  2. DoD or Coast Guard Civilian with Spouse Seeking Employment
  3. DoD or Coast Guard Civilian with Full-Time Student Spouse
  4. Gold Star Spouse
  5. Single/Dual DoD Contractor or DoD Contractor with a spouse who is Full-Time Working, Seeking Employment, or a Full-Time Student
  6. In no order of precedence:
    • DoD or Coast Guard Civilian with Part-Time or Non-Working Spouse
    • DoD Contractor with Part-Time or Non-Working Spouse
    • Deactivated Guard/Reserve Personnel
    • Other Federal Employees
    • Military Retirees

Note: In order to improve military members' access to child care, DoD policy allows lower priority families enrolled at a facility-based program to be disenrolled to accommodate higher priority families. Visit the FAQ page for more information.

Eligibility & Priority Resources

Refer to these resources to learn more about the DoD priority structure.