Childcare centers on the military installation will have increased rates in 2023, per a 2022 press release from the Defense Department. Military and DOD-affiliated parents utilize these child development centers and school-age care centers as a means to find reliable childcare at an affordable rate.
On-post childcare centers are an affordable option for childcare. With the cost of childcare increasing across the United States, with some people paying over $30/hour for a nanny or over $20/hour for a group setting care, on-base care may be the only place where the entire paycheck doesn’t seem to go missing. On-base care prior to the cost raise was $7/hour and is now $8/hour.
The increase in cost to parents is in part, to cover the increase in costs of hiring qualified childcare providers. The DOD Child Development Program Fee policy states that a minimum of 50% of appropriated funds support the child care development programs, with revenue generated by parent fees for the other 50% of the operating budget.
The program Child Care Aware, a Community Provider Fee Assistance program, will continue. The prior cap of $1500/month per child will increase to $1700/month per child. The amount actually given for fee assistance depends on the service branch, location, and rank of the service member. If you are looking for off-base child care, look at Child Care Aware for fee assistance.
Prior to the rate raise, child development centers had several income categories to determine the cost of childcare. For instance, an E3 and an O1 would not pay the same amount. The childcare rate would be determined by income. These income categories continue with the pay increase, but there are now 14 categories instead of the previous 13. The categories vary by military branch and location, so check with the child development center or school-age care program on your military installation, or next one, to know what to expect for childcare costs on base.
Childcare is a concern for military families. Military members often work hours outside the typical 9-5, and finding safe, and quality childcare is a priority for military families. Affordable childcare is added bonus. The childcare centers on base often have hours of 6 am -6 pm, or even later, depending on the location of the center. Costs are typically flat rates, not specifically at the hourly rate, so it is one cost for utilizing all the centers’ hours or part of them. This helps when hours, or days, vary for the military member.