CHILDCARE

Aside from the pressure to be ready at a moment’s notice to defend their country, military members face other challenges. For most military personnel, these stressors include moving every few years, raising a family and making child care choices. Often forced to live far from relatives and childhood friends, the military family has to develop a new support system and network of friends and caregivers with every move.

Knowing that finding trustworthy and adequate child care in a new place can be a stressful experience, the Army takes great care in helping families cope. After all, with Uncle Sam’s orders sending personnel and their families packing to faraway lands every few years, knowing military families have learned to take care of themselves and each other is extremely comforting.

You can reach the Fort Lee Child Development Center (CDC) by calling (804) 765-3765. In addition, the following are some of the options available to Fort Lee families:

MILITARY CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTERS

All children must be registered before they can be accepted into any Child and Youth Services Division. Registration requirements for Child and Youth Services:

• Valid ID card (Military/DoD Civilian)

• Current Immunization Record

• Copy of physical exam must be turned in within 30 days of enrollment in childcare programs (CDC, FCC and SAS)

• Three local emergency designees and phone numbers (other than child's parents)

• Family Care Plan (Form 5305-R) - only for sole and dual military (childcare programs)

• Current duty phone number

• Payment of registration fee: $40 per family or $18 per student

• Proof of age document (birth certificate or ID card)

• Sports registration (Current physical good for one year from date of exam and cannot expire before season ends.)

The CDC provides quality early childhood programs designed to meet the developmental needs of young children. The CDC is located at 10610 Yorktown Dr., behind Memorial Chapel.

CDC Services include:

* Full Day Program that offers care to children ages 6 weeks - 4 years. Regular operating hours are Monday – Friday, 5:15 a.m. - 6 p.m.

* Before and After School Program providing childcare for kindergarten-aged children.

* Preschool Program for children 3 - 4 years.

* Hourly Care Program for children ages 6 weeks - 5 years, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

FCC-Certified Providers offer childcare services in their on-post homes that are designed to meet the childcare needs of parents who prefer small group setting in a home environment. The FCC program provides training; certification for provides and their homes are monitored by the FCC staff. Each FCC childcare home operates as a small business and childcare fees vary according to contracted services between the provider and the parent. Full-day, part-day, hourly and extended hours services are offered for children 4 weeks - 12 years of age

The School Liaison Officer assists parents with any questions or concerns they may have about local public schools K-12. The School Liaison Officer also acts as a point of contact for the home schools and general information and questions relating to such things as registration, bus routes and school policies.

Several programs are offered through the School Age Services Program to include:

Bus Service is provided for the Prince George Schools of Harrison, South and Walton.

The SAS provides before/after school services for children first through fifth grades and is located in the Youth Center. Hours of operation are 5:15 - 8:30 a.m. and 3:45 - 6 p.m. Early hours of 5:15 - 6 a.m. are available for those Soldiers attending physical training. The program is open all day on school holidays and closed on federal holidays.

School-age hourly care is offered on a space-available basis during normal program hours. Child must be registered and appointments made in advance.

A full-day program of activities is offered in the Youth Center from June through August for children first through fifth grades. Hours are Monday - Friday, 5:15 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Early hours of 5:15 - 6 a.m. are available for those Soldiers attending physical training.) A state-of-the-art computer lab, learning center and youth library is located in the Youth Center and is available to all SAS, Middle School and Teen Program participants.

Youth Services is an affiliate with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and offers a variety of new clubs and activities. Check the monthly YS calendar for program events. Youth Services consists of two delivery systems.

The Middle School and Teen Program is located in the Youth Center and provides activities for sixth - 12th graders that promote and foster social interaction, personal growth, recreational skills, educational opportunities, youth development and sports and fitness. Youth can meet with friends and participate in various games, tournaments, dances and trips. In addition, there are many special events and programs available throughout the year. The MST participation is open to family members of active-duty, retired military personnel and DoD civilians working on Fort Lee. Annual registration fees: $40 per family or $18 per youth.

The Youth Sports Program offers a variety of sports and fitness activities (such as basketball, soccer, football, baseball and cheerleading) for 4 - 18 year olds. Tournament leagues and competitions are held throughout the year. Sports Camps are offered during the summer.

OFF POST CIVILIAN PROVIDERS

Because of long-waiting lists often associated with military child care programs, military families may choose to seek out civilian child care providers. Civilian providers typically fall under four different categories: licensed centers, religious-affiliated centers, licensed home providers and unlicensed home providers or babysitters.

When choosing a child care provider, parents should visit at least three different sites and ask detailed questions about issues, such as safety, philosophies for discipline, ratio of children to adult caregivers and the type of developmental activities available to the cared for children. Parents should also call the licensing agency to determine if any complaints have been registered.