How a Family Searches for and Requests Care

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How a Family Searches for and Requests Care

Overview

Once the family creates an account and completes their household profile, they can log in to their account to search for care. When they search for care as a logged-in user, the family can (1) access search results that reflect their specific child care needs, (2) review detailed information about programs that meet their search requirements, and (3) submit requests for care for programs that appear in their search results.

Review the information below to learn more about the steps outlined in the graphic that families take to search for and request care. This information will help you better understand the search process and explain it to families, should they have questions or need assistance. If a family asks you to make a request for them, refer to Add a Request in the Take Action on a Family’s Behalf Reference Guide.

Graphic overview of the four steps in the search for care process

Enter Search Criteria

When a family is ready to search for care, the first thing they do is complete information about the child needing care and their search locations.

  1. First the family selects the name of the child who needs care. Note: The system allows the family to search for care for one child at a time.
  2. The family then enters the date care is needed. If they don’t know the exact date, they can enter an approximate date and then update the date later, after placing a request, on their My Child Care page.
    • If the selected child is between the ages of four and six years, the family will be prompted to indicate if the child will have started school by the date care needed.
    • If the child is at least seven years old, or the family indicated they child will have started school, the family must select the child’s grade on the date care needed. If the family is requesting summer camp, they should enter the grade the child has just completed at the start of the summer. If the family is requesting summer camp and school year care for the next year, they should search for and request them separately in order to enter the correct grades for each care type.
  3. Next, the family confirms where the sponsor will be stationed on the date care is needed. The system will identify care that is available to the family within 15 miles of the duty installation listed. The duty installation is also collected to (a) better understand the child care needs of DoD sponsors and their assigned duty stations, and (b) identify alternative care options for the family, should they become available.
    • The system defaults to the duty installation in the household profile, but the family can search for care near a future duty installation. They can (a) use the country and state drop-down lists to select the duty installation from the drop-down list, or (b) type the duty installation’s name directly into the Sponsor’s Duty Installation field.
    • If the family cannot find their duty installation, or is not located near an installation, they should check the ‘I cannot find my duty installation’ checkbox and enter the address for the sponsor’s duty station. If the address is within fifteen miles of a duty installation with a CYP presence, the family will be prompted to select the installation closest to their location.
    • If there is no installation with fifteen miles of the address, the information will be used to help identify geographically dispersed families.
  4. The family can select up to three different locations within a fifty-mile radius of the duty installation where they would like to search for care. For example, the family can select their home address or enter a spouse’s duty installation or work address. Note: if the family updates their home address from this page, it will update their home address in their household profile. If the family would like to search near a future home address, they should select the ‘Search near another address’ checkbox and enter the address for their future home.
  5. Select Next to view the types of care available based on the search criteria.
    Your information page of the search for care process
Review Available Care

The system uses the information provided by the family during the first step (e.g., child needing care, date care needed, grade (as applicable), and search location(s)) to determine if care is available that meets their needs. The system will display only those care types that meet the search criteria and are available within the search location.

  • If care is not available, the system will display the following message: "There are no military-operated programs in your search area. Please visit https://www.childcareaware.org/fee-assistancerespite/military-families/ or contact Child Care Aware of America at 1.800.424.2246 to learn about the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) Fee Assistance program. This program supports qualifying families who are unable to access installation child care."
  • If care is available, the family reviews a list of the available care types and selects the care types that best match their needs. The family can review care type descriptions directly on the page and via a Learn More icon. You can review care type descriptions in the Understanding the MCC Care Structure topic in MCC Basics.

Review the information below to learn about how the family can select non-school age care types and school age care types.

NON-SCHOOL AGE CARE TYPES

If the family is searching for care for a non-school age child, they may see the following care types:

  • Full-day care
  • Part-day care
  • 24/7 care
  • Extended care

If the family selects 24/7 or extended care, they must enter details about their work schedule. The information is shared with program users during the offer process to help match families to spaces available. If the family receives an offer for 24/7 care, they must provide their official work schedule during the enrollment process to ensure they meet the special eligibility requirements for 24/7 care.

Once the family selects the types of care their child needs, they select the Next button.

Available Care page of the search for care process with 24/7 Care work schedule text field expanded

SCHOOL AGE CARE TYPES

If the family is searching for care for a school age child, they may see the following care types:

  • School year care
  • Summer camp
  • 24/7 care
  • Extended care

24/7 and Extended Care

If the family selects 24/7 or extended care, they must enter details about their work schedule. The information is shared with program users during the offer process to help match families to spaces available. If the family receives an offer for 24/7 care, they must provide their official work schedule during the enrollment process to ensure they meet the special eligibility requirements for 24/7 care.

School Year Care

As long as a school year care option is active in the family’s search area, a family can request care for the upcoming school year even if the next school year’s dates have not been entered in MCC. If the family selects school year care, they must then select which care offerings best meet their needs. Care offerings for school year care include:

  • Before and after school, including seasonal camps and school-out days
  • Seasonal camps only (fall, winter, spring)
  • School-out days only (care on days when school is closed during the regular school week)
  • Both seasonal camps and school-out days
    Available Care page of the search for care process with school year care options displayed

Before/After School

If the family selects the before and after school care option, they must then identify the school their child attends, or will attend, and indicate if their child needs transportation to and from school. This information ensures that the family’s search results only display programs that serve the child’s school. School information is also required so you can make offers based on available transportation. Note: If the family indicates they do not need transportation, the search results will display all before and after school care options that are within a 15-mile radius of each location entered by the family earlier in the search process.

There are three ways a family can enter their child’s school information.

  1. Family selects “I know the school my child will be attending” and selects their child’s school from the drop-down list. They will then indicate if they need transportation.
    • When the family selects a specific school from the drop-down list, and indicates they need transportation, the search results will only display the before and after school care options that serve the school selected.
      School and transportation option with school selected from drop down list
  2. Family selects “I know the school my child will be attending”, selects the dropdown for the list of schools, but does not see their school listed so selects “My child’s school is not listed” and enters their school information via a text field.
    • If the family does not see their child’s school listed, it means that programs in the area do not serve that school. If the family chooses to continue with the request, they must enter the name of their child’s school in the text field so, if they place a request with a program, the program can assess future transportation services. The programs in the search results will not serve that school, so if the family requests any of the programs, they will be required to provide transportation. Note: The system will automatically select No to the question about the child needing transportation.
      School and transportation option with school not listed option selected
  3. Family selects “I do not know yet which school my child will be attending”.
    • While the family can still request care, they will not receive an offer until they identify which school their child attends in the system. If the school is unknown, the system will generate an alert in the Time Sensitive Actions section of the family’s dashboard 90 days before the school year care option start date to remind the family to update the school. The family can update the school information directly from their dashboard or from their My Child care page.
      School and transportation option with I do not know my child’s school selected

Once the family selects the types of care their child needs, they select the Next button.

Choose Programs & Providers

Once the family selects the type of care they are interested in, they view their search results, which contain all military-operated and military-affiliated programs that meet their search criteria. There are also a number of tools available on the search results page that help the family update or refine their search results.

  • Summary of the family’s search criteria (e.g., DCN, sponsor’s duty station, other search locations, school child is attending, and care types selected) that can be updated directly from the search results page. If the family’s search results do not produce enough options, they should consider updating their search criteria to include additional search locations or an expanded search radius.
  • Filtering tools that help the family refine the search results based on more specific criteria such as Open Time and Close Time, Program Type, and Search Distance. For example, if the family only wanted to look at programs that are open during the hours they need care, they can enter the preferred open and close times on the filter. In addition, they can adjust the search distance around each of their search locations by selecting the Adjust link under the Search Distance. The programs listed in the default search results are within 15 miles of each of the search locations selected by the family earlier in the search process. The family can use the search distance filter to narrow or expand this distance from each search location up to 50 miles.
  • Sorting tools that help the family view search results in a specific order (e.g., in alphabetical order or in order by geographic distance).
    Choose programs page with filter selected to adjust search distance

SEARCH RESULTS DISPLAY

After the family selects their preferred care types and enters their child’s school information (if applicable), the system will display a list of all care options that meet the family’s child care needs. FCC programs will always be listed first, followed by SAC or CDC programs, and 24/7 programs, depending on the age of the child and the availability of programs in the selected areas. The family can choose to request care from any of these programs.

The search results page displays the following content to help the family make decisions about where to request care.

Map

Each program has a number, which corresponds to the map so that families can orient themselves to the program’s location and see if that option would truly work for them. To see approximate locations for FCC providers, the family must first select the Choose FCC providers link under the FCC Program entry.

Choose program page showing search results

Program Profile

Families can see additional information about each program (including the FCC Program) by clicking on the program’s name. The information, including photos, is customized and specific to the different program types in MCC.

Program name highlighted showing view of program profile details

Inspection Report

Families can access an online inspection report for each program listed by selecting the Online Inspection Report link. The report includes the dates of the latest program inspections and program accreditation information. This information helps assure families that all military child care programs are subject to DoD required monitoring and quality assurance processes to ensure program quality and health and safety.

Program online inspection report link highlighted with view of inspection report details

Schools Served

When requesting school year care, families will be able to see the program’s list of schools served by selecting the Schools Served link.

Program school served link highlighted showing list of schools served

REVIEW RESULTS FOR FCC PROGRAMS AND PROVIDERS

To see a list of care options available for the FCC Program and FCC provider details, the family must select the ‘Choose FCC providers’ link under the FCC Program entry. This will open a separate FCC provider search results screen. The family can select the FCC provider’s name to view their profile. Families can select one or more specific providers at the FCC Program, or they can choose the Any FCC Provider option to be added to the waitlists of all providers who meet their search requirements.

The content and tools on the FCC provider search results are similar to those on the main search results page, with the following exceptions.

  • Families can further filter the list of providers by provider features (Pet Free Home, Negotiable Hours, Smoke Free Home).
  • The FCC provider profiles do not contain the provider’s address, other contact information, or driving directions because these providers run their centers out of their homes and it is not appropriate to share that level of personal information with families until a space is available.
  • FCC providers are shown on the map with an approximate location in order to protect the location of where military children are receiving care. Families will have access to the provider’s actual location when they receive an interview request. If the family has general questions, they can contact the FCC program office. Contact information for FCC programs are listed in the FCC program profile.
  • Inspection reports are not available.

To return to the main search results page, the family must select the Return to Results button at the top of the FCC provider search results.

Display of FCC program and FCC provider with FCC features filter expanded

REQUEST CARE

From the search results, the family may place requests by selecting the specific care options that meet their needs. They can select specific programs, Any FCC Provider, or specific FCC providers included in their search results. Based on the selection made, the family may be asked to enter a work schedule or select care offerings. Read through this topic to learn how families request care options that require additional information.

CDC

When selecting care at a CDC program, the family may select full-day, part-day, and pre-k before and after school care options.

Full-Day Care and Part-Day Care

If a family needs full-day care, the family can select the full-day care option from one or more programs. For part-day care, the family can review the different program schedules and select the part-day schedule that best meets their needs. 

CDC program with full-day care option selected

Part-Day Care with Flexible Schedule. When selecting part-day care with a flexible schedule, the family must include their work schedule. This information displays to the program user during the offer process to help match families to available spaces.

Text box to collect work schedule for a request for part-day care with flexible schedule

Pre-K Before and After School. When a family selects the pre-k before and after school care option, the system prompts them to indicate which offerings they need.

CDC with pre-k before/after school care option selected with care offerings window details

SAC

When selecting care at a SAC program, the family may select school year care (before, after school), school year care – kindergarten, full-day kindergarten, seasonal camps and school out days, and summer camps. In each case, except for full-day kindergarten, the system will prompt the family to select the offerings they need.

School Year Care. When families select school year care, they must indicate if they want before school, after school, or both. Note: Families will be able to place a request for the next school year even if the program has not entered the next school year’s dates in MCC.

  • When families receive an offer for before or after school, the offer includes seasonal camps and school-out days.
  • If a family does not receive an offer for before or after school, but would still like to enroll their child in seasonal camps and/or school out days, the family must also place a separate request for the seasonal camps and school-out days they need. Because the date they request care affects a family’s sequence on the waitlist, families should consider placing a request for school year care and a request for seasonal camps/school-out days.

SAC school year care option select with before and after school care offerings detail

School Year Care – Kindergarten. When families need care before and/or after a part-day kindergarten program, they must indicate the offerings they need when they select the care option. Note: When families receive an offer for before or after school kindergarten care, the offer includes seasonal camps and school-out days. However, if a family does not receive an offer, but would still like to enroll their child in seasonal camps and/or school out days, the family must also place a separate request for the kindergarten seasonal camps and school-out days they need. Because the date they request care affects a family’s sequence on the waitlist, families should consider placing a request for school year care – kindergarten and a request for seasonal camps/school-out days.

SAC school year care – kindergarten option selected with care offerings detailSeasonal Camps and School-Out Days/ Seasonal Camps and School-Out Days – Kindergarten. If the family selects seasonal camp and school-out days, they must then select which seasonal camps (Fall Camp, Spring Camp, Winter Camp) and school-out dates they need.

SAC school out and seasonal camps care option selected with care offering detailSummer Camp. If the family selects summer camp or summer camp by grade, they must indicate which weeks of camp they need. The family may use the Select All feature if they need care for all camp weeks or select individual weeks. Families can update the requested offerings by visiting their My Child Care page. Note: FCC providers offer summer camp as an entire summer program, so families will not select weeks if they request summer camp care from an FCC provider.

SAC summer camp care option selected with care offering detail

FCC Provider

The family has two options when selecting care options for FCC. The family can (a) select care at Any FCC Provider or (b) select care from specific FCC providers. Learn more about each option below.

Any FCC Provider. A family can selects Any FCC Provider for Full-Day Care, 24/7, or Extended care. When selected, the request will be automatically added to the waitlist for all FCC providers that match their search criteria – including new FCC providers that are added to MCC after they submit the request.

If the family selects Any FCC Provider, they may adjust their search locations to ensure they are being added to the appropriate providers’ waitlists. The family will be added to the waitlists of only FCC providers who are located within the search area selected by the family.

Specific FCC Provider. To request care from specific providers, the family selects one or more care options and associated offerings, as applicable, under each of their preferred FCC providers.

Choose FCC providers selected to show FCC provider list

Review & Place Requests

After selecting at least one care option from their search results, the family must select “Next” to view their My Child Care Search review page.

The My Child Care Search page provides a detailed summary of the family's search criteria and all programs and care options they have selected. The family should review this summary to make sure it is accurate. If the date care needed is within 30 days of the request date, the family must select the option that best describes the child’s primary care while they wait for military child care at or near the installation. Primary care is the child care option used most often and includes:

  • Military child care program (CDC, SAC, 24/7)
  • Military Family Child Care (FCC) provider
  • Community-based child care program receiving military Fee Assistance
  • Community-based child care program
  • Family member, friend, neighbor, or nanny
  • At home with a parent
  • Cannot find child care at this location
  • Other, enter text

To submit their requests, the family provides additional information that will help the program better care for their child and selects the Confirm button at the bottom of the page.

My child care search review page

Once the family confirms their requests, they will receive confirmation that their request has been submitted. If the family has more than one child, they can continue searching for care by selecting the Find care for another child button. Once the family has placed their requests, they can view them in MCC any time by visiting their My Child Care page.

Child care search request confirmation page

How Supplanted Families Reapply for Care

To improve military members’ access to child care, lower priority families may be supplanted if space is needed for a high priority family. When a child is supplanted, a notification letter from the Service informs the family they will be supplanted and outlines the process they may follow to submit a new request. If supplanted, families can reapply for care and ask a program representative to update their request for care (RFC) date to reflect the date the child started care at the program from which they were supplanted. Please note: requests for updating RFC dates must occur within 30 days of the child's last day in care after being supplanted and only pertain to programs and providers in the geographic area where the family was supplanted.

Because program users are unable to backdate the RFC date for existing requests, if the family creates the request themselves, the family or program user must cancel that request and enter a reason of “child was supplanted” in the text field. Next, the program user must create a new request and backdate the RFC date. This ensures the request has an earlier RFC date and the system can track the number of families who re-requested care after being supplanted. Refer to Manage a Family’s Request in the Take Action on a Family’s Behalf Reference Guide for detailed instructions on backdating a request for a supplanted child. Note: The Support Desk is not authorized to create a request due to supplanting.

Last revised: 21 Apr 2021
Watch

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: CDC, 24/7

This video includes an overview of the family household profile and an introduction to the family search for care process using full-day and 24/7 requests from a CDC and 24/7 Center as examples. 

Duration: 
9:13

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: CDC, 24/7

Last revised: 24 Jul 2019

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: SAC

This video includes an overview of the family household profile and an introduction to the family search for care process using school year and summer camp requests from a SAC program as examples. 

Duration: 
9:26

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: SAC

Last revised: 24 Jul 2019

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: R&R

This video includes an overview of the family household profile and an introduction to the family search for care process using full-day and part-day requests from a CDC program and FCC provider, as well as school year and summer camp requests from a SAC program as examples. This video is most relevant to staff who would like to understand how families search for all care types.  

Duration: 
13:17

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: R&R

Last revised: 24 Jul 2019

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: FCC Provider

This video includes an overview of the family household profile and an introduction to the family search for care process using full-day and part-day requests from an FCC provider as examples. 

Duration: 
10:37

Household Profile & Introduction to Family Search for Care: FCC Provider

Last revised: 24 Jul 2019