Child Care:

Availability for Civilian Dependents at Selected DOD Installations

HRD-88-115: Published: Sep 15, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 19, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the need for child care facilities for civilian employees at seven Department of Defense (DOD) installations with large civilian populations to: (1) determine availability of work-site child care services for civilians at those installations; and (2) survey employees at McClellan Air Force Base (AFB) and Fort Sam Houston to determine who would use on-base child care centers if they were available.

GAO found that: (1) only the Air Force had instructed its base commanders to identify requirements to meet civilian and military employees' child care needs; (2) the Air Force estimated that 50 children would need child care for every 200 civilian employees; (3) two of the three Air Force bases needed civilian child care facilities in addition to their existing military dependent facilities; (4) six of the seven bases had child care facilities for military dependents and enrolled civilian dependents at those centers, while the other one had a separate civilian dependent facility; (5) although the military child care centers served civilian dependents, military dependents had priority; (6) one base required civilian dependents to leave within 90 days when it needed space for military dependents; and (7) three bases' centers had fewer than 10 percent civilian dependents and three other bases had waiting lists of military dependents. GAO also found that: (1) small numbers of civilian employees used family day care homes at three bases that managed family day care programs in base housing; (2) none of the bases had information on the extent to which the local community met their civilian employees' child care needs; (3) only eight civilian dependents at both McClellan AFB and Fort Sam Houston received care at the bases' child care centers; (4) over 50 percent of the preschool-age children at McClellan AFB and over 60 percent at Fort Sam Houston received care outside their homes; (5) 49 percent of parents with preschool children at McClellan AFB and 62 percent at Fort Sam Houston would use an on-base child care facility; and (7) actual enrollment would vary depending on the quality of programs offered and facility fees.

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