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The military child-care system, the largest system of employer-sponsored child care in the country, has received high marks for providing quality,accessible care for children of military employees. In an effort to control expenses, the Department of Defense (DoD) has considered a number of different approaches to delivering this care. This book presents estimates of the cost of providing care in DoD-operated Child Development Centers(CDCs), Family Child Care (FCC) homes, and centers operated by outside providers under contract to the DoD. The authors conclude that child care is a costly employee benefit and the costs are particular high for infants and toddlers. Their survey of CDCs revealed dramatic differences across installations in the cost of care per child, with significantly lower per-child costs in larger centers. FCC costs are considerably lower than those for CDC care because cost is not so closely tied to a child’s age in FCC homes. Costs for contractor-operated centers fall within the range observed for DoD-run centers. There is no evidence that contractor-run centers are 10-percent cheaper to operate than DoD-run centers, the cost differential that is a DoD requirement for outsourcing.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND’s National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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