Child care professionals needed to grow FCC program

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Hanscom’s Family Child Care program is seeking eligible applicants to become certified child care professionals. 

The FCC program, which is part of the Child and Youth Services Flight, offers alternative care options for children ages two weeks to 12 years old. Robin Morris, the FCC training and curriculum specialist, who oversees the program and conducts initial and annual training for all potential and current providers, said that for many military families, the flexibility and mobility of the FCC program is attractive.

“Providers get the benefit of staying home with their own children, while earning an income and supporting the mission,” she said. “An additional benefit allows the FCC certification to transfer with providers when they move to a new Air Force base.”

Potential providers must have current base affiliation and meet specific qualifications in order to begin the 40-hour training and certification process, including passing an extensive background check, fingerprinting and obtaining liability insurance.

All of the training required to become an FCC provider is free and can be completed at Hanscom. Monthly home inspections and observations are conducted by FCC staff to ensure important health and safety requirements are being met.

Together with Child Development Center leadership, Morris offers a network of support for FCC providers.

“The providers have their own businesses, develop their own schedules and set their own rates, but we’re here to help guide, train and support them when they need it,” she said. “We never want providers to feel like they are out there on their own.”

In addition to providing resources and guidance, the FCC program has a free lending library that allows providers to borrow equipment, such as safety gates, toys and other items needed, in order to establish their home program and help minimize out-of-pocket startup costs.

Once a provider is fully certified and insured, they can offer care for up to six children, including their own, Morris said.

Providers have the option of entering into contracts for full-time, part-time, before-and-after-school or drop-in care. Each family signs an individual contract with the provider to meet its specific needs.

For Emily Horn, a certified FCC provider who began her child care program in April 2017, FCC offers a unique opportunity to contribute to her family’s finances while caring for her son, who has autism.

“The certification process can feel overwhelming, but it is so rewarding and you can customize your program to fit your family,” Horn said. “It is such a privilege getting to know the kids in my program and watching them hit milestones.”

More individualized care is just another benefit FCC homes offer the families they serve.

There are currently two certified FCC providers on Hanscom, but Morris hopes to add additional providers to the program to better serve the Hanscom community.

“When families reach out to the CDC for child care options, I want to have multiple options to offer them,” Morris said. “It is frustrating when families call and say they are desperate for care and we can’t help them, because we do not have available spots in the FCC programs.”

While base residents are the FCC’s primary focus, families with access to Hanscom who live off base are welcome to be part of the program. Off-base or affiliate providers are offered the same benefits and free training as on-base providers, but they are required to obtain additional licensing through the state.

For more information about the FCC program and the certification process, contact Morris at 781-225-6121 or via email at 66.FSS.CDC.CMB@us.af.mil. To learn more about Hanscom child care options, visit www.militarychildcare.com.