Referral agency connects DoD-affiliated families to DoD-affiliated nannies.
Military spouse unemployment has been a top concern for military families for decades. The lack of secondary income, especially in young families, has been tied to higher stress, lower retention rates, and even food insecurity. When military spouses are surveyed regarding why they are unable to access employment, access to affordable, quality childcare always comes out at the top.
Military families have few options for childcare. These options are not always financially possible and the long waitlists make most completely unattainable. There are two simple changes that could be made to the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN) program, managed by Child Care Aware of America, to better support and empower military families.
The first change is to update the 90-day once-in-a-lifetime “Looking for Work’’ qualification through CCA to 120-days. The data is clear. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that the average population requires five to six months to find employment. Military families face additional hurdles such as licensure transfer, business ownership requirements, delayed movement of household goods, large blocks of unemployment in their resume, and/or frequent short blocks of employment in unrelated fields, to name a few. It stands to reason that with the additional struggles military families face, they should be granted the same time that civilians have to pursue fulfilling careers.
The second change is to update the once-in-a-lifetime “Looking for Work” qualification to once per duty station with qualifying orders. Military spouses frequently do not have the option to maintain their employment with PCS orders, which adds to the strain on a single-income family. The subsidy should be granted to every PCSing family as an effort to support them, as well as raise retention.
Operation Child Care was created in response to decades long battles for equitable, affordable childcare. Operation Child Care (OCC) is the first nanny referral agency exclusively available to DoD-affiliated families which contract exclusively with DoD-affiliated personnel. OCC is currently running a pilot program in San Antonio, Texas. Our mission at OCC is to bolster access to affordable, quality childcare, as well as fair practice military spouse contract employment.
Through OCC, DoD-affiliated personnel can have short or long-term contracts caring for children who are waiting for access to subsidized care. This allows the caregivers to claim full-time employment and qualify for subsidized child care themselves. One of the benefits of these contracts for caregivers is guaranteed income if they choose different employment should child care not be the career goal. Military families benefit by accessing caregivers who are pre-background checked and trained to provide assistance until their waitlist for subsidized care is finished.
To learn more, visit operationchildcare.org or follow our socials on Facebook (@Operation.Child.Ca), Instagram (@operationchildcare), or LinkedIn (@operation-child-care).