Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood

The Military Child Child Act was passed in 1989, and by 1992, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the military services had implemented new rules that created a premier child care system. Since then, the military child care system has received numerous positive citations and kudos from both the government and the private sector. A 2002 Senate report called the program “a model for the nation for providing high-quality affordable childcare.”

To achieve this goal, DoD began with underlying systemic policy changes, including:

  • Universal access for all children of active duty military and DoD civilians, regardless of family socio-economic status.
  • A single-entry system of multiple on- and off-base full day, part day/shift and hourly year-round care options for children four weeks old to 12 years old.
  • Adoption of nationally recognized standards, states best practices and regulatory parameters, and strict enforcement of standards through annual unannounced internal and external assessments with stringent accountability compliance measures.
  • Staff credentialing and accreditation by national professional bodies; competitive staff salaries and benefits; on-site staff to train and coach staff, and strong passionate site and headquarters leaders with early learning and administrative competencies, parent engagement through open access to child classrooms and local parent advisory councils.
  • Support from military leaders at all levels. Reluctant at first, these leaders soon came to value quality childcare as a “force multiplier” that positively impacted military capability and supported working families.

DoD also operates the Military Child Care In Your Neighborhood program, which is designed to meet the child care needs of Active Duty Service Members living in areas where on-base military child care is not available.

The following ECEC Members provide child care to military families: Acelero Learning, Brightside Academy, Childcare Network, Kids ‘R’ Kids International, KinderCare Education, Learning Care Group, New Horizon Academy, Primrose Schools, Stepping Stone Preschool, and Sunrise Preschools.


History of the Military Child Care Act (The Future of Children, Fall 2013)

Be All that We Can Be: Lessons from the Military (National Women’s Law Center, 2005)

Be All that We Can Be: Lessons from the Military (National Women’s Law Center, 2000)

Hechinger Report (April 2016)

Military Child Education Coalition

To serve as a model of positive leadership and advocacy for ensuring inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children.

To ensure inclusive, quality educational experiences for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition.

The Military Child Education Coalition will:
1.    Provide responsive and relevant support systems, resources, and products.
2.    Expand the MCEC’s outreach through engagement, advocacy, and partnerships.
3.    Execute a strategic communications plan.
4.    Build a strong, sustainable, and financially sound organization.