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Providing Child Care to Military Families. The Role of the Demand Formula in Defining Need and Informing Policy

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The Department of Defense DoD is committed to meeting the need for child care among military families. DoD supports the largest employer-sponsored system of high-quality child care in the country. Through accredited child development centers CDCs, family child care FCC homes, youth centers, and other after-school programs, DoD currently provides approximately 176,000 child-care spaces for military children 0- 12 years old and plans to expand this capacity to 215,412 spaces by fiscal year 2007. DoD recognizes that high-quality child care is both a readiness issue and a retention issue. Difficulty in obtaining child care creates conflicts between parental obligations and mission responsibilities, and if parents have no child care, they may fail to report for duty in order to care for their children. If parents are forced to make informal child-care arrangements, they may perceive that care to be of low quality and may be distracted from their work as a result. For families with an employed civilian spouse, inadequate child care may a and military statistical trends. Because the formula is based solely on demographic data, DoD was concerned that the formula might not be addressing all relevant aspects of child-care need. The Office of the Secretary of Defense asked the RAND Corporation to assess the validity of the DoD formula as a tool for translating information on military families into measures of potential child-care need and to suggest ways that the tool might be improved. RAND was also asked to clarify the role of the formula in DoD childcare policy decisions and to improve understanding of the factors that in influence key child-care outcomes of interest to aid DoD in refining its goals for military child care.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Biology
  • Structural Engineering and Building Technology

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