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Family Child Care provides alternative to CDC

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Finding adequate child care can be a challenge, especially for military families. For families at Travis Air Force Base, California, there are several childcare options including three child development centers and the Family Child Care Program.

Family child care is similar to the CDCs, however, the FCC provides in-home care from 21 licensed providers both on and off base for infants through school aged children. The FCC also provides care for children whose parents work shifts outside normal duty hours, including weekends.

One benefit of the FCC program is the lower provider to child ratio. FCC providers are limited to six children and of those, only two can be under 24-months, according to Lisa Valverdewymer, 60th Force Support Squadron FCC coordinator. Any of their own children under eight also count towards the total number of children.

The Family Child Care office oversees the licensed homes in the program. They inspect the homes at least monthly to ensure that health, safety, food standards and developmental needs are in compliance with Air Force guidelines. They also mentor the providers and monitor the developmental needs of the children.

“Our providers are first aid and CPR certified,” said Valverdewymer. “They need to pass a stringent background check that is more in-depth than just the installation background check as well as have everyone in the household over 18 be fingerprinted.”

Upon completion of all security requirements, prospective providers complete a four-day orientation, covering child abuse awareness training and safe food handling procedures. Additionally, licensed providers will continue with monthly training and inspections as well as unannounced inspections from public health officials and the fire department to maintain their licensing.

“As a military spouse, I understand how stability isn’t always within our control,” said Monique Ruiz, Travis FCC provider. “It helps to have a place that will treat your kid like your own. That’s what I would want and I enjoy being able to help out other military families and their children.”

Each home on the FCC referral list is licensed and in compliance with strict standards. Homes are required to display a sign that shows they are licensed care providers.

The FCC office also works with providers and gives them everything they need to run their business.

“Our coordinators are great with getting us what we need,” said Ruiz. “The FCC has a lending library. You don’t need to go out and purchase a bunch of things, such as toys, books and safety items. They want you to succeed.”

Family child care providers are unique because under Air Force Instruction 34-276, Family Child Care Programs, FCC providers are private entrepreneurs and base officials may not regulate the fees they charge for their services. This means FCC providers run their homes as personal businesses, determining their own fees and contract policies. FCC is not to be confused with individuals who provide occasional care on base. Anyone providing care on a regular basis or for more than 10 hours per week and are required to be FCC licensed.

For a list of current providers visit travisfss.com/fcc/. Contact the provider directly to check for openings and rates.

For more information on the FCC program or to become an FCC provider, contact Valverdewymer at 424-8104.