Story and photos by
Airman 1st Class Taylor Slater
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 86th Mission Support Group and Civil Engineer Group recently joined forces to create the Key and Essential Family Child Care Provider Initiative.
The initiative alleviates the wait for base housing and increases the number of child care providers in the Kaiserslautern Military Community by offering prioritized base housing at Ramstein, Landstuhl and Vogelweh for members who agree to become a certified Family Child Care provider.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kathryn Kilker, commander of the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron, said this initiative is one of the first of its kind in the Air Force. There are currently 8 Key and Essential Family Child Care Provider homes off base, and this initiative will add at least 10 more homes on base.
Lt. Col. Natosha Reed, 86th Force Support Squadron commander, said this initiative is another great way to take care of military families. Reed said one of the ways FCC providers offer an advantage over Child Development Center care is they can adjust their shifts for Airmen who don’t work in normal duty hours.
“I think if we continue to focus on our families and we take care of those families that will in turn help our Airmen continue to be the best Airmen they can be,” said Reed.
Michael Simones, Kaiserslautern Military Community Child Development Center and family child care manager said the incentive has been in the works since last fall. In October 2018, the 86th MSG and FSS leaders met with parents in a Town Hall forum to discuss challenges and successes of youth programs and childcare in the KMC.
Simones said the incentive, which was approved this month, is mainly targeted at military families looking for jobs in the KMC.
Interested applicants will need background checks, two references, a letter from their spouse’s commander or supervisor, a copy of their high school diploma, and a driver’s license, among other requirements. Simones said it could take up to six months or longer to pass all requirements.
Once completed, the provider will undergo up to 40 hours of training to become an FCC provider, both online and in-person.
The provider’s home will also be inspected by FCC, Safety, Fire and Public Health in order for applicants to obtain their license to work. Their homes will also be inspected regularly to maintain standards.
Simones said this project will help the KMC because it helps alleviate two longstanding issues: long waits for on-base housing and childcare waitlists. The waitlist times change weekly, but recent statistics have shown the wait has decreased to around 120 slots on the waitlist. On-base housing waitlists vary between rank and base, but waitlists can potentially last up to 18 months. In addition to this initiative, Building 800, a newly renovated CDC building, has helped alleviate the waitlist for children in recent months.
Another potential advantage for the initiative is showing someone a new career field they never thought about before.
Simones said while the initiative does not transfer from base to base, the provider’s childcare experience will, and it will make it easier for them to obtain other childcare jobs in the future.
Anyone looking to apply for the initiative or find more information can contact the KMC Housing Management Office at 06315-36-6671 or DSN 489-6671. Other ways to apply for the program include calling the Family Child Care office at 06371-405-7420 or DSN 478-7420 and calling the Youth Flight Office at 06371-47-6444 or DSN 480-6444.