Senate Bill Would Push for DOD Partnerships with Local Child Care Providers

April 19, 2024

Senate Armed Services Committee members Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced a bill Thursday to ease the child care crisis for military families by authorizing DOD to partner directly with public and private sector child care providers, according to press releases from Shaheen and Ernst.

Shaheen said it would be a “first-of-its-kind pilot program to leverage resources from the Department of Defense to train child care providers, increase available child care slots in communities across the country and provide new career development opportunities that will strengthen the capacity of the child care sector overall and help early childhood education teachers thrive.”

Ernst, noting that this is Month of the Military Child, said the bill is an effort to uplift military families.

“As a mom and a new grandma, I know it takes a village to raise a child and that our military members need high-quality, affordable child care for their young ones,” Ernst said. “By boosting training and recruitment efforts, this bipartisan bill will ensure military kids are safe and loved while their parents diligently train and prepare to protect our nation.”

The Proposed Approach

According to Shaheen’s press release, the bill would:

  • Let DOD enter into partnerships with private and public sector child care centers on or near installations.
  • Require DOD to provide certification and training opportunities and to participate in recruitment and retention programs for child care providers at participating centers.
  • Authorize DOD to enter into a partnership agreement with national service agencies such as AmeriCorps to place service volunteers at participating child care centers.
  • Assess resources to improve child care enrollment procedures.
  • Encourage DOD to recruit eligible military spouses and offer them child care training and certification.

Air National Guard photo of Ernst by Tech. Sgt. Danielle Koster

April 19, 2024

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