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The Proud Story of Military Child Care

by based on an interview with Barbara Thompson by Roger Neugebauer
March/April 2011
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-proud-story-of-military-child-care/5019826/

To learn about trends in military child care in the United States, Exchange interviewed Barbara Thompson, the Director of the Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Exchange: When did the military get into the business of providing child care? Who got the ball rolling and where?

Thompson: In the early '70s, child care became an official Department of Defense (DoD) function. Prior to that, care was offered at installation drop-in 'nurseries' operated by private organizations to provide hourly care for volunteers and during social events such as teas and luncheons. The nurseries received little, if any, financial or logistical support from the installation. Low parent fees were the primary source of funding. Many 'nurseries' were located in converted stables, quonset huts, basements, and attics. The need for child care as a workforce issue paralleled the change to the all-volunteer force and more women serving in the Armed Forces.

In 1988, a series of Congressional hearings were held on military child care programs. The hearings led to the enactment of the Military Child Care Act (MCCA) of 1989. The MCCA had a far-reaching impact on military child care and the early childhood profession. For example, early childhood ...

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