Programs offer families childcare choices

Betsy Allen
435th Services Squadron

***image1***The 435th Services Squadron Family Child Care Program assists the community with childcare needs by maintaining high-quality childcare and serving as a referral source for other related programs.
Whether people are interested in in-home childcare, becoming a Family Child Care provider or gaining information about the Extended Duty Child Care Program, questions can be answered at one of the FCC offices at Ramstein or Vogelweh.
“The Family Child Care program provides in-home childcare opportunities for families who prefer in-home care or maybe wish for their children to be in smaller groups for interaction and learning,” said Maria Mitchell, Family Child Care coordinator.
More than 40 licensed FCC providers care for KMC children at Ramstein, Sembach, Vogelweh and Landstuhl.
“Benefits of Family Child Care are the actual home environment, limited number of children and more individualized attention,” said Ms. Mitchell.
FCC providers are private business owners regulated by the U.S. Air Force. These guidelines regulate, for example, how many hours of TV children can watch, how much outdoor play time is required, naps, meals and activities to develop gross and fine motor skills.
Christine Gensler, an FCC provider and prior active-duty member, cares for six children ranging in age from 2 to 6.
Ms. Gensler, who started her childcare program with the FCC in July 2002, works together with the kids moving from one activity to the next.
“We stick to a schedule each day – it allows for flexibility except for meals and naps,” she said.
FCC providers allow for “more one-on-one time and it’s in a family environment,” said Ms. Gensler.
“These children participate in many of the same activities as the Child Development Centers, but on a smaller scale,” said Ms. Mitchell. “Lots of parents like that.”
Other FCC programs of note are the Extended Duty Child Care Program, which provides free childcare to parents who must work above and beyond normal duty hours. The Subsidy Program assists working parents in finding quality, affordable childcare in FCC homes by sharing the cost of their childcare fees.
Another valuable program is the Returning Home Program available to military members returning from deployments of more than 30 days. Sixteen free hours of child care are available upon return home.
The KMC FCC conducts an informational seminar once a month. This seminar provides pertinent information, answers questions and addresses any concerns to assist all serious FCC candidates in the decision-making process.
If the candidates choose to pursue a FCC provider license, professional training is required. Training sessions are provided each month.
For more information call, 489-6040 or email at