The Military Child Care Act of 1989
The Military Child Care Act of 1989 (MCCA) was passed by both the House and Senate in November 1989. The goal of MCCA was to improve the availability, management, quality, and safety of child care provided on military installations. Its major components include:
An increase in the military's mandated contribution to the operation of Child Development Services (CDS), to a 50 percent match between appropriated funds and parent fees
This provision increases funds for some services but not for others. Priority for use of these funds should go to increasing the number of child care employees who provide direct care to children and to expanding the availability of child care. Other uses of funds are unlikely since that would require special approval from the Secretary of Defense.
The development of training materials and training requirements for child care staff
Centers must designate an employee responsible for the delivery of the training and oversight of employee performance. This provision appears to address widespread Congressional concern over the quality of child care programs.
A pay increase for child care employees directly involved in providing care
This provision compensates CDC caregivers at rates equivalent to that of other employees with comparable training, seniority, and experience on the same military installation.
Employment preference for military spouses
Military spouses are given priority for hiring, or promotion within, the position of child care employee.
The addition of child care positions
Competitive service positions (3700) are to be made available in the DoD for child care personnel. These positions may be filled by employees involved in training and curriculum development, child care administrators, supplemental care administrators, Child Development Center (CDC) directors, or family day care coordinators.
Uniform parent fees based on family income
This change addresses concerns about affordability of child care by lower-ranked military personnel.
Expanded child abuse prevention and safety
The MCCA directs the Secretary of Defense to establish and maintain a special task force to respond to child abuse allegations, and to establish and maintain a national child abuse and safety hotline that accepts anonymous calls. The legislation calls for four unannounced annual inspections with needed remedies to be made within 90 days, unless this requirement is waived by the Secretary.
Parent partnerships with CDCs
A board of parents at each military CDC is to be established at each center. Parent participation in the centers' programs is encouraged with reduced fees.
Report on five-year demand for child care
The law instructs the Secretary of Defense to issue a report on the five-year demand for child care six months after passage. The report should include a plan for meeting demand and a description of methods for monitoring family day care providers.
Subsidies for family home day care
Appropriated funds may be used to provide assistance to family day care providers as a means of providing these services at the same cost as CDC care.
Early childhood education demonstration program
Fifteen percent (about 50) of the military child development centers are to be accredited by "an appropriate national early childhood accrediting body." These centers will be designated as early childhood education programs and will serve as models for CDCs and family home day care. The law also specifies that an independent body evaluate the effects of the accreditation on children's development.
The match applied only to FY 1990, but has been continued under DoD policy.