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HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Ashley Goglia (left) and Jessica Franklin work on an arts and crafts project. Mrs. Franklin, a Family Child Care provider, takes care of six children in her home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)
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Family Child Care, good for providers and parents

Posted 6/11/2010   Updated 6/11/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


6/11/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- A year and a half ago Jessica Franklin just had twins, as well as a 7 year old. She wanted to stay at home to take care of them, but also wanted to do something else. Family Child Care (FCC) presented an ideal situation.

Mrs. Franklin now takes care of six children in her home.

"I stay at home with my own kids, as well as help develop other children and be a part of their lives," she said. "It's my job and what I like to do."

The FCC program, part of the Force Support Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, is looking for individuals like Mrs. Franklin who wish to become child care professionals. The Air Force requires individuals to become licensed if they are providing care for children in their homes for more than 10 hours a week.

To become a licensed child care provider, one must be at least 18 years old, able to speak, read, and write English, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be in good mental and physical health.

Providers must pass a comprehensive background check, including family members, and complete an orientation program prior to licensing. The orientation includes training on topics such as child abuse, safety, health, food handlers, appropriate business practices, CPR, first aid, and developmentally appropriate practices with children. The home is also inspected by fire, safety, and public health professionals.

"Providers must learn how to use the environment and make adaptations when necessary," said Courtney Cann, FCC coordinator. "At the same time, they must keep the features that make a home a warm and inviting place."

Within 18 months after being certified, providers must complete 15 Air Force training modules equating to approximately 60 hours of training. The modules are designed to help acquire skills and knowledge needed to provide care for infants through school age. In addition, they are required to complete additional training each year.

"Family Child Care providers are a wonderful source of support for families on Hanscom," said Laurel Wironen, training and curriculum specialist. "They provide high quality child care while continuing to professionally grow as child care providers. Ongoing group and individual training is a continual process to support that growth."

After becoming licensed, providers basically are their own boss; however, inspections are conducted once a month to make sure providers are in compliance with DoD guidelines.

"They own a small business and are responsible for everything involved in owning a small business," said Ms. Cann.

They have the flexibility to take care of their own children and choose their own work schedule. Fees are charged by each provider and are a matter of private negotiation between the provider and parents. Also, the credentials go from base to base so when a person PCSs or when a spouse leaves the military, the business may move along with the family.

In particular, the FCC program is looking to license providers to care for children with special needs, including children with asthma, allergies, cerebral palsy, and physical impairments. Additionally, the program is recruiting individuals to care for children on swing shifts and evening shifts.

Those interested may also look at becoming an Extended Duty Care (EDC) provider. EDC is designed to augment the network of support parents use when juggling life and duty demands. EDC is free child care available when parents experience a temporary shift change, additional duty demands not assigned on a regularly scheduled basis, a deployed or TDY spouse has a child care emergency created in part because of an absence of a spouse, a temporary loss in child care due to a chance or new child care need, or a Reserve or Guard duty member on active duty for training weekends or annual training.

The FCC program provides parents an alternative to center-based child care programs. It offers in-home care for children 2 weeks old to 12 years old. Providers are able to accommodate the various work schedules or parents by offering not only full time care, but part time, drop-in services, weekend, and evening care.

"We have very high quality providers," said Ms. Cann. "The care the children receive is phenomenal. We want people to join our team."

For anyone interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider, call (781) 377-1695 or visit www.hanscomservices.com. The FCC office is located in the Child Development Center at Building 1994.



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