For years, we have heard Leadership and Government officials discuss waitlists for CDC care as the metric for success. The most recent Quality of Life Review hearing with the House Armed Services Committee mentioned childcare dozens of times; the conversation would turn to waitlist numbers and dissipate. CDC care was never intended to cover all childcare needs that mission readiness demands.
Put yourself in the shoes of a military family needing affordable childcare. You arrive at a new duty station with no local support system and a 10-month-old. You joined the childcare waitlist when you received orders two months ago, and your estimated wait time was reported as 18+ months. You receive a notice from militarychildcare.com telling you to reaffirm your need for care at the CDC through the online portal. Do you log in, update your 15-digit password, and reiterate that you are still waiting for the care that may arrive after your infant is firmly in toddlerhood? No. You let your name drop off the list. When a CDC waitlist moves from 3,000 to 2,200 waiting, it is rarely indicative that they have served 800 people in a few months.
Joint Base San Antonio relies on a hopeful 140 million dollars to build three additional centers over the next 3 - 6 years. Assuming staffing issues are cleared up, it will eventually add approximately 600 additional spaces for children who may not be born yet.
Single(ish) parenthood is a common phenomenon among military and DoD civilian spouses. Adding military fee assistance for off-base care and other programs founded by OSD helps, allowing a reported 4% to access care. The Operation Child Care Project receives between 1-3 families a day who need help figuring out their options because this care doesn't fit the unique needs of military families or they have been pending the waitlist for fee assistance for 8+ months and can no longer afford to work.
Childcare is personal; every family has a unique family structure, with personal values and unique needs. Families will tell you what they need; you have to listen. Learn more about JBSA and its childcare expansion plans here.