Marine Corps Child Care:

User Fee Increases at Parris Island and Beaufort Installations

HRD-89-74: Published: Mar 24, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) use of appropriated and nonappropriated funds to support morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) activities, including child care, at the Parris Island and Beaufort Marine Corps facilities; and (2) reasons for child care center user fee increases at the facilities.

GAO found that: (1) child care centers were categorized as recreation activities for funding purposes and received financial support from both appropriated funds and nonappropriated fund subsidies, such as user fees; (2) weekly fees for one child at Parris Island and Beaufort child care centers ranged from $22 to $24 and $24 to $29, respectively, depending on the military parent's rank; (3) MWR activities experienced pressures to increase user fees that resulted from reduced nonappropriated fund subsidies, cuts in 1988 MWR appropriations, and increased manpower and operations expenses; (4) although the commanders at both installations prevented user fee increases at both centers in 1987, economic and fiscal pressures forced them to raise user fees in 1988; (5) despite the increases, weekly child care fees were lower than the fees charged at private centers in the area and lower than the national Marine Corps average; (6) in 1987 and 1988, Parris Island collected user fees totalling 97 and 87 percent of its nonappropriated direct salary expenses, respectively, while Beaufort collected 122 and 113 percent of its nonappropriated direct salary expenses; and (7) since the Marine Corps viewed child care services as vital and wished to protect such services from budget fluctuations, it reduced other recreational activities to give child care priority funding.

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