Choosing child care may be one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent, and it can be hard to know where to start. Rest assured, the Department of Defense provides military families with a variety of quality, affordable child care options. DoD programs support a variety of child care needs, allowing parents to choose the right type of care for their child’s age and family schedule. While services may vary by location, the standards and quality of services are consistent and meet established regulations. Learn more about military child care programs below.
Care types define the general characteristics of the care offered, including the schedule and age groups or grades served. There are six care types in MCC, including the following.
Full-Day Care: Full-day care provides child care for infants through preschool age children, six hours or more per day on a regular basis, for at least four days per week.
Part-Day Care: Part-day care provides child care for infants through preschool age children for fewer than six hours per day on a seasonal or regularly scheduled basis.
School Year Care: School year care provides care for children in kindergarten through grade 7 during the school year. Offerings include before and after school, seasonal camps, and school-out days.
Summer Camp: Summer camp provides care for children between school years during the summer.
Extended Care: Extended care provides child care for infants through school age on an irregular or occasional basis, during non-traditional hours (e.g., early mornings, evenings, or overnight). Extended care may be used with other types of care.
24/7 Care: 24/7 care provides child care for infants through school age during traditional and non-traditional hours on a regular basis. 24/7 care is designed to support watch standers or shift workers who work rotating or non-traditional schedules (i.e., evenings, overnights, and weekends) and is often used instead of other types of care. To qualify for this care type, families must submit their work schedule.
Hourly Care: Hourly care provides short-term child care on an intermittent basis. It is offered to eligible families on a first-come, first-served basis, and is not managed through MCC. To request hourly care from your preferred program, please contact the program directly.
Program Quality Standards
The DoD is committed to providing affordable, quality child and youth care in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. To do that, all DoD programs must meet strict quality standards.
- Military-operated programs must be DoD certified and meet national accreditation requirements.
- Family Child Care (FCC), offered by military spouses, is a quality alternative to center-based care. All providers are licensed and monitored regularly.