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Child and Youth Programs

The Department of Defense takes great pride in the variety and quality of services provided to children and youth on installations worldwide. While the services provided may vary by location, the standards and quality of services are consistent and meet established regulations.

Child Development Centers

Child development centers, or CDCs, generally offer child care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Care is available Monday through Friday, with some locations offering options, such as extended hours, weekend care and respite care. Child development centers vary in size and larger installations may operate multiple facilities. Programs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Family Child Care

Children ages 6 weeks to 12 years may receive care in the private home of a certified family child care provider living in government-owned or leased housing. Family child care is typically available weekdays and with additional care provided during evenings, weekends and flexible hourly care for shift work. Regulations limit the number of children who receive care at any one time to no more than six children under age 8 and no more than two children under age 2. Family child care providers must be certified to operate by the installation. Individual providers may voluntarily seek national accreditation from the National Association of Family Child Care and are provided local support, training and materials to accomplish this goal.

School-Age Care Programs

School-age care programs provide care to children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Care is offered before and after school, during non-school days and summer vacations. School-age care programs may be located in Department of Defense youth centers, child development centers or in other suitable facilities. All programs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by a national accrediting body, such as the Council on Accreditation.

Requesting Child Care

Military families may request child care by visiting MilitaryChildCare.com. This Department of Defense website serves all military families seeking child care (including Child Development Centers, Family Child Care and school age care programs) and provides access to military-operated child care options world-wide. Families may search for and request care, manage their requests, and update their profile online, simplifying the process for finding child care.

Youth Programs

Dynamic programs for youth ages 5 through 18 years are provided in approximately 300 youth and teen program facilities worldwide. A wide variety of offerings includes activities in physical fitness and sports, the arts, life skills, career and volunteer opportunities. Installation programs may also collaborate with other youth-serving organizations, like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and USDA/4-H programs.

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