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FCC program provides options for Team Dover children

Amani Bailey, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Justin Bailey, 436th Aerial Port Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of passenger services, paints as part of the Family Child Care program on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, July 20, 2021. The FCC program offers an alternate option to the Child Development Center or Youth Center on base, providing in-home care for infants through school-aged children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Amani Bailey, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Justin Bailey, 436th Aerial Port Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of passenger services, paints as part of the Family Child Care program on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, July 20, 2021. The FCC program offers an alternate option to the Child Development Center or Youth Center on base, providing in-home care for infants through school-aged children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Cherise Vogel, 436th Force Support Squadron Family Child Care provider, watches children paint at her home on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, July 20, 2021. The FCC program offers an alternate option to the Child Development Center or Youth Center on base, providing in-home care for infants through school-aged children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Cherise Vogel, 436th Force Support Squadron Family Child Care provider, watches children paint at her home on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, July 20, 2021. The FCC program offers an alternate option to the Child Development Center or Youth Center on base, providing in-home care for infants through school-aged children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

 In order to complete the mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, the Airmen must maintain focus while on the job. One way to ensure this is to alleviate stress caused by family needs, such as child care. With the Child Development Center and Youth Center constantly in high demand, the 436th Force Support Squadron provides additional child care options available through the Family Child Care program.

The FCC program is an alternate option to the CDC or Youth Center on base. The in-home child care providers operate similar to the CDC and Youth Center, caring for infants to school-aged children.

“FCC providers are all affiliate providers, whether living on or off base,” said Beverly Henderson, 436th Force Support Squadron Child and Youth Services community child care . “They follow the same training requirements as the CDC and Youth Center and have both a state license and Air Force affiliation.”

Providers must be CPR and first aid certified, pass a background check and take 24 hours of training annually to maintain base affiliation. Additionally, once the homes are open for care, Henderson conducts monthly, unannounced inspections to ensure providers' homes are in order at all times.

“They need to pass the same inspections as the CDC and Youth Center,” said Henderson. “I visit each home for oversight and ensure each home complies with the state and Air Force guidelines for health, fire and safety requirements, and also look to see how the environment is and how the provider interacts with the children.”

The homes differ from the CDC and Youth Center by only allowing each home to care for a maximum of six children, and of those, no more than two children under 24 months old.

“The smaller ratios allow me to have more individual time with each child,” said Cherise Vogel, 436th FSS FCC provider. “However, we are structured the same as the CDC and Youth Center, providing activities throughout the day from breakfast to play time.”

Vogel, who became an FCC provider in 2019, said she found her calling after separating from the Air Force and enjoys being able to give back to the community and working parents.

“I became an FCC provider to care for our military service members' children because I was in their boots as a military member, needing evening, holiday, extended duty and weekend care for my children,” said Vogel. “When other daycare centers or schools are closed, FCC homes are open upon availability.”

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, childcare was limited for Tech. Sgt. Justin Bailey, 436th Aerial Port Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of passenger services.

“We were referred to [Vogel] and it turned out great - my daughter loves it,” said Bailey. “I like that there are only three or four kids getting care so the provider can build a great relationship with them.”

Under Air Force Instruction 34-276 Family Child Care Programs, FCC providers are able to determine their own fees, hours and contract policies.

“Depending on the provider’s schedule, they can provide care for late shifts, evenings or weekends,” said Henderson.“The more providers we have, the more programs we can offer to families.”

The Air Force is currently running an incentive program in which individuals can receive $300 for becoming and remaining a FCC provider for six months.

“This is a great profession for military spouses to get into,” said Henderson. “They can stay at home with their own children, earn an income and gain skills to run a small business.”

Vogel enjoys having more time with her children and feels her FCC home is like a second family to the other children she cares for.

“Their children are welcomed into my home. [It’s] a safe environment [for them] to be themselves,” said Vogel. “I really enjoy seeing all their little personalities. Every day I’m learning just as they are.”

For more information on the Dover Air Force Family Child Care program or to become a provider, contact (302) 677-6376.