Military Child Care:

Extensive, Diverse, and Growing

HRD-89-3: Published: Mar 8, 1989. Publicly Released: May 1, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed child care services provided by continental U.S. military installations.

GAO found that: (1) as of February 9, 1988, child development centers had the capacity to care for 38,505 children, and family day care homes could serve 23,719 children; (2) day care centers generally offered more care to young children and more part-time care than child development centers; and (3) although child care capacity increased by 82 percent since 1984, 24,729 children were on waiting lists for center care on February 9, 1988.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its report on the Military Child Care Act (House Report No. 101-121), the House Armed Services Committee acknowledged this report. However, the Committee recommended spending an additional $78 million for child care center operations stating that child care is a top priority and an important military readiness and retention issue. Congress expanded military child care programs through the act.

    Matter: Congress should consider whether child development center care should be made available for all military parents who want this care or whether program eligibility for military parents should be limited. These decisions would involve balancing the cost of program expansion and operation against the Department of Defense's stated benefits of maintaining readiness, increasing productivity, and improving morale.


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