HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. –
The Family Child Care program here offers in-home child care options for military and civilian families with children ages two weeks to 12 years old.
Program officials note that for many of them, the flexibility Family Child Care offers can be beneficial.
“I became an FCC child care provider after my youngest son was diagnosed with autism,” said Emily Hamel, a Hanscom provider since 2017. “It has given me the opportunity to help provide income for my family while remaining fully involved in my son's therapy. It was important for me to have as much time with my boys as possible and this job allows that.”
Col. Roman Hund, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, installation command chief, recently presented Hamel with the provider of the year award.
“I am honored to receive recognition as provider of the year,” said Hamel, who accepted the award in her home alongside the children she cares for and her family.
Robin Morris, the FCC training and curriculum specialist, who oversees the FCC program and conducts initial and annual training for all potential and current providers, highlighted the rewards certified child care professionals at Hanscom enjoy.
“Hanscom Family Child Care providers get the benefit of staying home with their own children, like Emily, while earning an income and supporting the mission,” Morris said. “Once a provider is fully certified and insured, they can offer care for up to six children, including their own.”
Interested providers must have a base affiliation and meet specific qualifications prior to beginning the 40-hour training and certification process.
The training required to become an FCC provider is free and completed here at Hanscom. FCC officials perform monthly home inspections and observations to ensure compliance with important health and safety requirements.
“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,” Morris 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 to establish their home program and help minimize out-of-pocket startup costs.
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.
Hamel spoke about the relationships she has formed with families at Hanscom.
“It is a privilege to share so many special moments with the families I have in my care. I am truly grateful," she said.
In addition to those living at Hanscom AFB, families with access to Hanscom who live off base may participate in the FCC program. Off-base providers receive 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