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Military Child Care: DOD Is Taking Actions to Address Awareness and Availability Barriers

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About a million military service members serve the United States while raising a family, and many need reliable, affordable child care. The Department of Defense DOD offsets costs by subsidizing on-installation child care centers and offering subsidies for approved off-installation care providers. Deployments related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan increased the demand for child care. The extent of military families out-of-pocket child care costs for those using subsidized care are not known, and families may face barriers to obtaining DOD-subsidized care. GAO was mandated to examine 1 the out-of-pocket child care costs paid by military families who use DOD subsidized care and 2 the barriers, if any, to obtaining DOD-subsidized care, and what has DOD done in response. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed DOD policies and guidance interviewed officials from DOD, its contractor that administers DODs off-installation child care subsidies, and organizations that support military families reviewed DOD fee data for school year 2009-2010 school year 2010 and school year 2010-2011 school year 2011 and analyzed child care costs for a random probability same of 338 families using off-installation care in school year 2010. GAO conducted nongeneralizable discussion groups with military parents at two large military installations. GAO is not making recommendations in this report. DOD generally agreed with the reports findings and also provided additional information on several specific points in the report.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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