Meeting Military Families’ Need for Flexible Child Care

first_imgThe life of a military family can be very unpredictable. Service demands and plans can change frequently, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Care for an injured military parent may mean hospital, doctor or therapy visits that wreak havoc on a family’s daily routine. The demands on family schedules are especially challenging when there is no non-military family member who can provide a level of consistency and predictability for young children.The bottom line? Military families need flexible child care options. Flexibility for military families means having trustworthy care:on short noticeon an irregular basisat non-traditional hoursfor an extended time, possibly overnighton an hourly basis for brief timesWhere can flexible care be found? It may not be easy but there are a few places to look.Flexible Child Care Programs & CaregiversThe greatest flexibility is offered by in-home child care providers and nannies. Although on the surface it appears to be an expensive option, it’s really not when one considers that a live-in provider offers stability and consistency for both children and parents in the midst of changing schedules, multiple deployments – even relocation! Nannies’ responsibilities also often include other household tasks. It can be an especially beneficial option for large families, families with no nearby relatives, single parents, and dual-military families. Lisa Werth, a nanny for a family whose parents both work at the Pentagon says, “My bosses often email me from the Pentagon to see if I know of a nanny looking for a job.” Being an in-home child care provider can be a rewarding and interesting employment option for child care professionals to consider.Family Child Care homes can also offer greater flexibility. FCC owners may choose to market specifically to military families if they live in a community with a high enough concentration. But even when the majority of a FCC owner’s families are civilian, they may be able to meet the need for emergency or non-traditional care for an individual military family in a way that a center simply couldn’t. FCC owners who are willing to provide flexible child care for military families should communicate that in their marketing and through their currently enrolled families (since word-of-mouth is often how new families are found), their local Resource and Referral agency, and professional associations.Flexibility in child care centers is the most difficult to find because it is the most expensive to provide on a larger scale. The less demand there is in a geographic area, the less likely it is that flexible options are available. The highest demand, of course, is on military installations, so it’s not surprising that each of the branches of the Armed Forces offer a variety of programs to meet these needs through their children, youth and teen programs. For example, programs at Camp LeJeune (Marines) include hourly child care, Family Child Care (24-hr, 7 days a week), and emergency drop-in care. The demand may be so high, however, that there is a waiting list for enrollment, in which case child care programs in the surrounding area may choose to satisfy the needs of families.Both FCC and center-based programs who are interested in serving military families should also consider becoming an approved provider for the military’s child care fee assistance program.  Approved programs are entered into a searchable online database, allowing military families to more easily locate programs that may be able to meet their unique needs. And remember, military families, especially Guard and Reserve, can be found living in communities all over the map. So no matter where you live, if you are willing and able to provide flexible care, even if only on an occasional basis, consider becoming an approved provider.Additional Programs to Fill Child Care GapsChild care programs and providers who can’t themselves meet the child care needs of every military family should be aware of other options to refer families to that may help fill the gaps.NACCRRA-Army Respite Child CareThe Army is working with the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) to provide financial support for community-based child care programs to offer respite care when short–term care needs arise. Approved programs are paid to provide free hourly child care to for families of soldiers who are deployed, serving on temporary duty (90-179 days), under a Wounded, Ill or Injured status or are Survivors of Fallen Warriors. Refer families to the website’s searchable database to find participating programs. Call NACCRRA at 1-800-424-2246 if you are interested in becoming an approved provider or want more information.Air Force Aid SocietyAir Force families who will be relocating because of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS in military lingo) are eligible for 20 hours of child care at a certified Family Child Care home (either on or off base). Call 1-800-769-8951 or e-mail dvosburg@afas.org if you are interested in becoming a certified FCC home or want help in locating homes to refer families to in your area.YMCA Military OutreachOne option that can meet some respite child care needs is the local Y. The Department of Defense pays for up to 16 hours of child care per month for infants through 12 year olds from eligible military families who don’t live on an installation.Family members of deployed National Guard and ReservistsActive Duty Independent Duty personnel (deployment is not a requirement)Relocated spouse/dependent children of deployed Active Duty personnelFamilies of deployed Active Duty personnel residing 30 miles from a military installationAlthough local Ys are not required to offer the program, many are choosing to participate, so check to see whether it’s an option that’s offered in your community. To find more information to share with families and search for participating Ys in your area, visit the Y’s website.SittercitySittercity is an online service that matches families with child care providers who can meet their needs, including last-minute emergency care, overnight care, etc. Sittercity has an extensive database of babysitters and nannies with detailed profiles that can be searched by location and 14 other options, including hourly rate, education/certification, and reviews from families. The Department of Defense has partnered with Sittercity to offer free membership to the matching service for military families. Entering your profile in the Sittercity database as a child care provider is free.New Programs on the HorizonThe Veterans Administration launched a pilot program last year that offers on-site child care at three VA medical facilities. The child care centers provide free, drop-in child care for eligible veterans who come to the facilities for health care services. The centers can care for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. Time will tell whether the program will expand to others of the 149 medical centers in the VA system.What’s Available in Your Community?If you are one of the many individual child care centers and family child care providers who tailor their programs to the unique needs of military families, we would love to hear your story!Whole communities can also rally on behalf of military families, using local resources and combined creativity to meet a variety of military family needs, including child care. If you’ve been involved with or know of a community-level effort, please share your story, too. It may give others some fresh ideas for their own communities!Even with all these efforts, there is still much to do to meet the child care needs of military families. What suggestions do you have for creating a sturdier network of support?[Note: All branches of the military offer respite care for families of children with special needs through the Department of Defense Exceptional Family Member Respite Care program.]last_img read more

Maharashtra dams are 50% full

first_imgIncessant rains for over a week have filled Maharashtra’s dams to 50% of their capacity, bringing relief to the drought-hit regions. The water levels in Marathwada region, which had dropped to below 1% have now touched double digits. According to information from the Water Resources Department, the water storage in all dams of the State is 51.36% of their total capacity, which is almost equal to the 51.41% of 2018 on the same date. Dams in Marathwada have recorded 11.77% of their total storage capacity as compared to 17.89% last year. Vidarbha’s Amaravati and Nagpur divisions too have recorded an increase in water storage in dams, with 16.82% and 28.22% of their total capacity, respectively. The water levels in Marathwada dams had gone below 1% mark in July due to very less or no rains. An official from the department said continuous rains in western Maharashtra and Konkan region have ensured satisfactory increase in the water levels. “While these parts have benefited with rains, some regions of Marathwada, Vidarbha and central Maharashtra are yet to get rains. But according to Indian Meteorological Department, these parts will get medium to high showers from August 7 to 9,” said the official.He said that the department has predicted flood-like situation in some parts of Marathwada and central Maharashtra for August 9. “Disaster management teams have been asked to be on alert,” he said. Meanwhile, Health Minister Eknath Shinde, said, “As per the initial estimate, a total of 1.14 lakh population is affected due to floods. Diseases spread after the water recedes and medical teams have been kept ready in anticipation.”last_img read more

CAG picks holes in awarding of Games contracts

first_imgThe CAG report on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which is yet to be tabled in Parliament, indicts the Delhi government for irregularities in the development of infrastructure ahead of the sporting extravaganza. The state had worked on at least 25 roads and bridge-related projects, of which 17 were completed before the Games.The government auditor has focused on seven projects for a detailed review. Of these Rs 2,239-crore projects, six were implemented by the PWD, which is under the Delhi government, and one by the DDA, which is headed by L-G Tejinder Khanna. The CAG points out the bloated contractor’s profit and overhead (CPOH) charges of 37.5 per cent for the projects instead of the CPWD-stipulated 15 per cent.The hiked CPOH led to a higher baseline cost for bidders and indirect loss to the exchequer. In a clear indication that tenders and bids were botched to favour particular contractors, the CAG found that the PWD accepted tender documents which had an extensive use of correction fluids, cuttings and corrections.The report says the PWD not just accepted overwritten, corrected bids but also in at least three instances, the department – which is led by Sheila Dikshit’s close aide Raj Kumar Chauhan – admitted bids on random papers instead of government-approved formats. The Barapullah Nallah flyover project was singled out by the auditors for discrepancies.Bids accepted from the DSC Limited were filed on separate letters instead of formal bidding documents, the report said. The flyover contract was awarded to DSC for packages worth Rs 218.79 crore and Rs 214.92 crore. In another instance, the firm was awarded work for being the lowest bidder for the UP Link Road project. In this case too, the tender was submitted through separate letters instead of the prescribed format.advertisementIt couldn’t be ascertained if these papers had been placed in the file later. The bid for the Ring Road bypass project was also manipulated, as is evident from the corrections in the bid. The exchequer lost Rs 6.23 crore in the process. Causing a loss of another Rs 35 lakh, underweight reinforced steel bars were used on the Ring Road bypass. The government lost an extra Rs 1.1 crore due to post-tender changes in construction of the grade separator at the ISBT Anand Vihar crossing.The auditor also faulted the government with accepting the suspension model for the foot overbridge near the JLN Stadium that collapsed days before the Games. The report pointed out that though the PWD had no experience in such a construction, it went ahead with the design, Even the consultancy offered by the contracted firms and lackadaisical supervision is said to have led to losses.The wrong assessments made by the Delhi government departments are said to have caused losses of at least Rs 3.55 crore.last_img read more

Families take on the task of raising awareness of Canadas Fentanyl crisis

first_imgShaneen Robinson-DesjarlaisAPTN National NewsFamilies in Winnipeg are raising awareness to the dangers of Fentanyl.It’s the opioid painkiller that has caused hundreds of overdoses in British Columbia and Alberta.The problem is making its way east – and families in Winnipeg are now feeling it.srobinson@aptn.caFollow @shaneenonthescenelast_img