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The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes that high-quality child care for military families impacts both readiness and retention. DoD was concerned, however, that the child-care demand formula it uses may not be addressing all relevant aspects of child-care need. As such, the Office of the Secretary of Defense asked the RAND Corporation to assess the DoD formula as a tool for translating information on military families into measures of potential child-care need and to suggest ways that the tool might be improved. To perform this assessment, RAND conducted 21 focus groups on eight installations and from them developed a survey to determine parental preferences and other factors that might affect child-care need. In light of the survey results, the authors assess the validity of the DoD formula in meeting the child-care needs of military families, analyze the factors that influence key child-care outcomes, and address the broader issue of how DoD can refine its goals for military child care.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Examining DoD Child-Care Demand Formula Assumptions

  • Chapter Three

    Accuracy of the DoD Child-Care Formula Estimate

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluating How the Current Child-Care System Is Serving Military Families

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Components of the Child-Care Need Formula: DoD and the Military Services

  • Appendix B

    Military Child Care Survey

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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