Military Child Development Program

A Valuable Resource

Getty Images/Caiaimage/Robert Daly

If you're in need of quality, affordable child care, The Military Child Development Program is an extremely valuable resource. 

About the Program

The Military Child Development Program is overseen by the Department of Defense (DoD) and contains three separate types of child care options that are designed to meet the various needs of military parents serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps.

These three options include Child Development Centers (CDCs); Family Child Care Homes; and School Age Programs. The programs may vary slightly between the various military branches and installations, but they all must operate under the same health, safety, staff qualifications, and curriculum guidelines set forth by the DoD.

To help you make an informed decision about which program best suits you and your family, we've listed information about each option below, and added a sliding-scale fee chart at the end of this article.

Child Development Centers (CDCs)

Most military installations have at least one Child Development Center (similar to day care centers in the civilian world) located on the post/base. CDCs provide care to kids from six weeks through 12 years of age and are open year-round, from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.

Family Child Care (FCC) Homes

Unlike the child development centers, FCC providers operate within their homes (similar to in-home daycare) and accept kids ranging from infants through age 12.

Some of the homes are located on military installations while others are located off post/base.

Utilizing the services of a family child care home is a great alternative when there isn't an immediate opening in a CDC or your installation doesn't have one. Another benefit to using FCC homes is that they often offer flexible hours, which works great for parents who need evening and weekend child care.

FCC providers must follow the same child-caregiver ratio guidelines as CDCs. For example, a provider may care for up to two children under the age of two and no more than six children (total) under the age of eight. Providers must also supply age-appropriate educational materials and meet specific DoD certification criteria.

School Age Care (SAC)

This program provides before and after-school care for kids ages six to 12 years old and is available on holidays and throughout the summer.

Program locations vary: sometimes they're held in a separate space within the CDC or on school property. Interestingly, the military has a partnership with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H clubs. For that reason, it's very likely that you'll find the SAC program provided through one of these organizations.

As with CDCs and FCC homes, all SAC programs must abide by DoD certification standards and be accredited through the Council on Accreditation; the National AfterSchool Association; or a similar accrediting organization or agency.

How to Apply

To apply for the Child Development Program, you'll need to fill out the following two forms:
1. Application for Department of Defense Child Care Fees (DD Form 2652)

Department of Defense Child Development Program Request for Care Record (DD Form 2606)

*** You have the option of not disclosing your total annual income. However, by doing so, your rate will automatically be set at the highest fee level.

After you've completed the necessary forms, take them to your installation's Resource and Referral office.

Sliding Scale Fees

The monthly enrollment fees for the Child Development Program are based on a family's total annual income and fall along a sliding scale that's divided into nine income categories. Although the sliding scale is determined by DoD, commanders can take into account a family's unique financial circumstances and are authorized to lower the fees if they deem necessary.

The following chart shows the nine income categories and the fees you'll pay which are based on your total annual income.

CategoryTotal Family IncomeAmount You'll Pay Per Week for 1st/2nd Child
I$0 - $30,771$48/$46
II$30,772 - $37,362$73/$58
III$37,363 - $48,352$89 - $71
IV$48,353 - $60,439$104/$83
V$60,440 - $76,924$120/$96
VI$76,925 - $88,960$131/$105
VII$88,961 - $104,658$135/$108
VIII$104,659 - $130,868$140/$112
IX$130,869 +$145/$116

Updated by Armin Brott, May 2016