Who is Eligible for Military Child Care?

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Who is Eligible for Military Child Care?

Overview

There are three factors that determine who may receive military child care services and when they may access care: basic eligibility, priority, and participant age. These factors are described in detail below.

A child must be a dependent of an eligible sponsor in order to enroll in any military child care program. The sponsor is a person with DoD-affiliation (e.g., Active Duty military, DoD Civilian). The sponsor’s DoD-affiliated status makes his/her dependent children eligible for military child care services.

Basic Eligibility: Eligible Sponsors and Qualifying Children

ELIGIBLE SPONSORS

Eligible sponsors include:

  • Active Duty Combat-Related Wounded Warrior
  • Child & Youth Direct Care Employee
  • Active Duty Military
  • Guard/Reserve on Orders includes (a) Guard/Reservists on active duty or deployment are considered the same as active duty while on active orders and (b) Guard/Reservists on duty for training (if deployed to a training location)
  • Active Duty Coast Guard Personnel
  • DoD Civilian
  • Gold Star Spouse (Combat-Related). A Gold Star Spouse is the surviving spouse of a service member killed in a combat-related incident.
  • DoD Contractor
  • Other Federal Employee
  • Military Retiree

QUALIFYING CHILDREN

An eligible sponsor may only enroll a qualifying dependent in military child care. A qualifying child is defined as someone between birth and the age of 12 who has one of the following relationships with the eligible sponsor:

  • A dependent or secondary dependent child who lives with the sponsor
  • Any other child for whom the sponsor has legal guardianship and resides with the sponsor
  • A foster child who lives with the sponsor
  • A child who is living with a person acting “in loco parentis” on behalf of the child’s eligible sponsor, who must leave the area temporarily to fulfill a military obligation. An “in loco parentis” relationship is one in which a person takes on the role of a lawful parent by assuming the obligations and discharging the duties of a parent without formally becoming an adoptive parent or legal guardian. In these cases, the child must reside with and be supported by this person while their eligible sponsor is absent. A special power of attorney to act “in loco parentis” is required to be on file.

ELIGIBILITY FOR 24/7 CENTER CARE

24/7 Centers are designed to meet the needs of military watch standers and shift workers, and military personnel who are called for duty during non-traditional work hours (e.g., nights, weekends, Federal holidays, etc.). 24/7 Centers must first serve sponsors for whom 24/7 care was specifically designed, including:

  • Shift workers: Shift workers are sponsors or spouses whose regular work schedule occurs outside of standard business hours such as weekends, evenings, or overnight shifts. Examples of shift work schedules include the following: a sponsor who works 2300–0700 Monday through Friday (overnight shift), a sponsor who works a rotating shift with two day shifts (0700–1530) and two afternoon/evening shifts (1500–2300) followed by three days off.
  • Watch standers: Watch standers are those whose work schedules occasionally require child care outside of standard CYP operating hours. An example of a watch stander is a sponsor who is required to “stand duty” on an intermittent basis (e.g., twice a week for three months).

As such, 24/7 Centers must offer care to the first eligible family in sequence order whose work schedule meets the program’s available vacancy.

See Placement Activities for detailed instructions on the offer process for 24/7 care offered by 24/7 Centers.

Priority

The purpose of military child care is to support the mission of the DoD by serving DoD-affiliated families so that they may fulfill their military or DoD-related duties. Per DoDI 6060.02, military child care programs must serve the highest priority DoD families first to ensure the most mission-critical families receive access to military child care. DoD has assigned priorities to each military family type (defined below) to ensure that programs meet this requirement.

Military family type is the eligibility categorization for military child care that is comprised of the following elements:

  1. Sponsor type (e.g., Active Duty Military, DoD Civilian, etc.), and
  2. Spouse status (e.g., working spouse, student spouse, spouse seeking employment, non-working spouse), if applicable.

Families select their sponsor type and spouse status when they create an MCC household profile and update it, as needed, when there are changes to their sponsor type, marital status, or spouse status. MCC uses this information to create a military family type for the household that automatically ties to the appropriate DoD-assigned priority.

For a complete list of all priorities, refer to the see the Military Family Type tip sheet.

WAITLIST SEQUENCE

To help programs meet the DoD requirement to serve the most mission-critical families first, MCC generates an automated waitlist sequence for each request for care submitted. MCC uses the following aspects of a request to calculate waitlist sequence:

  • DoD Priority Assigned to the Family’s Military Family Type
  • RFC Date: The date the family placed their child on a program’s waitlist (i.e., the date a family submitted a request for care).

With few exceptions, program users must make offers for care in order of waitlist sequence. During the offer process, once you describe your program’s available space in MCC, the system generates a Make Offer/Request Interview screen that displays all requests that qualify for the space in order by waitlist sequence.

Since MCC uses military family type in its sequence calculation, a change in military family type could affect a request’s waitlist sequence.

NOTE: Since military family type is tied to DoD-determined priority for care, program users must verify a family’s sponsor type and spouse status before they may enroll a child in a military child care program to ensure the family has been prioritized correctly and offered care in the correct waitlist sequence. If the program user finds that the family’s sponsor type and/or spouse status was incorrect, and it affects the request’s waitlist sequence once the program corrects it in MCC (i.e., the family’s request is no longer first in sequence), the program user must withdraw the offer and offer care to the next request in sequence on the waitlist. See Manage Enrollment for instructions on what actions to take in MCC if the family’s military family type is incorrect.

SPACE AVAILABLE

Although eligible for military child care, families with DoD contractors, Other Federal Employees, or Military Retirees (including retired Wounded Warriors) as sponsor types, as well as any military family type with a non-working spouse may only access military child care on a space available basis, after all families with higher priority on the waitlist have been served.

Participant Age

The table below presents the minimum and maximum ages for qualifying children to participate in military child care program by Branch of Service. Additionally, each program type provides services to a specific age range of children.

A table presenting minimum and maximum participant ages by Branch of Service and Program Type*Age eligibility for school age children can be extended to eighth grade at a specific installation with approval from the Service Branch HQ.

Last revised: 3 Sep 2020