Providing support through child care

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- January 23, President Trump signed a hiring freeze on government jobs, thus preventing child development centers across the Department of Defense from accepting new enrollments.

This has made PCSing military families search for child care even more complicated.

While some programs are affected by the hiring freeze the Family Child Care Program is still an option.

The FCC provides child care through licensed in-home providers during the day, through the night, on weekends and for abnormal work schedules for children ages 2 to 12 years old.

“I became an FCC provider, because I wanted to support the mission,” said Liz Arrexi, 341st Force Support Squadron FCC provider. “I am a wife to a missile cop, so I understand last minute schedule changes.”

Currently there are ten providers at Malmstrom and three going through the certification process. The base is looking for more people who will open their homes to child care and go through the process to become FCC providers.

“The FCC program is like a small business,” said Annie Steed, 341st Force Support Squadron family child coordinator and school age program coordinator. “The providers are able to make their own schedule.”

Providers have the opportunity to work from home and take care of their own children.

“Being able to be home with my son is one of the reasons I love this job,” Arrexi said. “I also love watching the children I care for grow and learn each day.”

Providers are in control of making their own schedules for daily activities.

“The main goal of the program is to provide a home environment for the children, so the learning is not so facilitated,” Arrexi said. “In a normal daycare the children would be split into different age groups, whereas here I can have different ages.”

Each home is monitored on a monthly basis by the FCC coordinator, and can also have unannounced visits from fire, safety, public health and other related base agencies.

“We practice fire drills and go over what to do in case of a fire,” Arrexi said. “As an FCC provider I had to go through an extensive background check before I was able to open my home to children.”

To be an FCC provider a degree is not required, but the provider must be 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma.

“Providers are also required to go through orientation and extensive training on how to care for infants and children provided by the Department of Defense,” Steed said. “Being an FCC provider is a really a good opportunity and I wish more people would volunteer.”

For more information on becoming an FCC provider or to learn more about what is offered, those interested can call Annie Steed at 731-3504.

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