Family child care offers career opportunities

  • Published
  • By Diana White
  • 81st Force Support Squadron
Would you like to earn extra income from the comfort of your home? The family child care office can help you achieve this goal and start a new career as a licensed FCC provider. New provider orientations are offered quarterly for spouses of active duty or retired military that are interested in providing care to children 6 weeks to 12 years old in both on--and off--base housing.

Licenses are granted by the 81st Mission Support Group commander after completion of FCC provider training, a background screening and home inspection. Once a provider receives their license, they will be given access to the FCC "Lending Locker" for help in setting up their in-home care. Items available for use include tables, chairs, toys, books, games and more.

"We provide a vast majority of items for you to get started," said FCC coordinator Juanita Harper. "We even come in and help you install the proper safety items such as gates, door stops, electrical outlet covers and child proof latches."

According to Harper, there is very little cost associated with setting up a new home for childcare. FCC also follows U.S. Department of Agriculture food guidelines for all meals and supplies each provider with meal planning and preparation training.

Harper notes that if people who live in base housing care for children in their homes and haven't been licensed through the FCC office, they could be unwittingly breaking the rules.

"We have Air Force instruction that anyone providing more than 10 hours per week of child care in their home must have approval," said Harper. "This is important because it protects the base legally and ensures that all base housing childcare services are in a safe, clean environment. Individuals that offer care without FCC approval could have their housing privileges revoked. No matter what, ensuring the safety and well-being of our military families is the top priority."

FCC providers are a crucial part of achieving the Air Force mission. Becoming a provider not only helps to supplement family income, but is also a very rewarding way to give back to the Keesler community.

"Our providers help out families who not only need child care on a regular basis, but also those that may be experiencing a deployment, need extended duty care during reservist weekends or even children with special needs," said Harper. "Being able to offer these types of services helps reduce the amount of stress for both the parents and children, which in turn promotes the overall morale of the base."