FCC providers give parents peace of mind about their children’s well-being

  • Published
  • By Joseph Coslett Jr.
  • 90th Missile Wing

The 90th Missile Wing is a critical component of the United States' nuclear defense strategy. But for the men and women who serve at the base, the mission can only be accomplished if they have peace of mind about their children’s well-being. That's where F.E. Warren Air Force Base’s Family Child Care Program comes in.

Maj. Jennifer Holmstrom, 90th Force Support Squadron commander, knows how important quality childcare is to the mission.

"We don't always have room in our childcare development centers and the flexibility families need, like after-hours or overnight care,” Holmstrom said. “FCC providers provide an extra layer of service to our parents."

The FCC program is designed to meet the unique needs of military families.

As Joyce Cisneros, 90 FSS family child care community coordinator, explained, "Our programs can virtually meet all the needs of all the families. Whether it's 24/7 care for missileers, during deployments or while the parents are preparing to do a permanent change of station, we could pretty much meet all of those needs."

However, finding enough FCC providers to meet the demand is a challenge.

"It just seems like it's getting harder and harder to recruit people who really love children and want to work with children," Cisneros said. "To become an FCC provider, there are no startup costs. We will have an expert who will work with you through the process."

Cisneros helps prospective FCC providers navigate the certification process, which includes background checks, inspections and training. For those who complete the program, there are benefits.

"If they become certified, Air Force Services Agency will pay for them to get their accreditation," Cisneros said. "The accreditation is the good housekeeping seal of approval which means they meet all of the requirements for the Air Force and the National Association of Family Childcare."

For military families, having access to quality child care can make all the difference.

"When we have families that don't have reliable childcare, how can they go to work every day without wondering if their child's okay or where their child's going to be tomorrow?" Cisneros said. "It puts a lot of stress on a family."

In fact, some families have had to make difficult choices because of the lack of childcare options in the local area.

"I've had active-duty families reach out to me who are single active duty families, and they have told me, 'Joyce, if I cannot find someone to watch my kid, I'm going to have to get out of the military,'" Cisneros said. "That right there speaks volumes. Some parents have to make a choice between their careers and ensuring they can find childcare. This is not an issue we’ve dealt with in the past, and now all of a sudden, it's a nationwide issue."

But with more FCC providers like Aimmee Lee, who recently joined the program, military families can rest a little easier knowing their children are in good hands.

"Welcome the newest Family Child Care Provider, Aimmee Lee, for F.E. Warren families," Cisneros said. "Aimmee, truly thank you for caring for our military families."

For those interested in becoming an FCC provider or learning more about the program, they can contact the community childcare coordinator at 307-773-3317.