Effective Monday, a change in fees will be implemented by the Department of Defense for Child, Youth and School Services.
The fee changes will affect children enrolled in child development centers, school age care and family childcare, middle school teen programs, SkiesUnlimited, instructional programs and Youth Sports and Fitness.
A letter was released to patrons on Aug. 31, 30 days prior to the actual fee change, stating to expect a change in fees starting Oct. 1.
One of the biggest changes in the school year 2012/13 is the Department of Defense Fee Policy for Late Fees. In the previous policy, a $5 late fee penalty was assessed to accounts that were not paid in full after five days’ billing. In the new policy, if a family is late with their payment, a $2 fee for each child will be added on for each day the payment is not made. If the account is still delinquent by the time a second billing occurs, another $2, $4 total, will be added on the sixth working day after the billing. If the account is not paid in full by the end of a month, child care will be terminated.
Payments are due on the first and 15th of each month, with a five-working-day grace period given after each billing cycle. “The late fees is one of the largest changes occurring,” said Christiane Dilts, Child, Youth and School Services Program operations specialist. After termination, patrons must pay the bill in full to reenroll in the programs or to enroll in any other CYS program.
“Sometimes when you have a five-dollar late fee and it is five dollars on the sixth and on the 14th then really there is no incentive of getting that paid really quickly, so I think that is why they changed it to accumulate on a daily basis,” Dilts said.
“I think the biggest change actually occurred three years ago, when the Department of Defense took away the ability for installations to set their own child care fees. The goal is to have standard child care fees for each total Family income category regardless of where the Soldier and their Family would be stationed. This will create and ensure consistency and predictability of CYS Services’ fee structure and procedures as the Soldiers and Families move from garrison to garrison,” Dilts said.
The DOD also added three new fee categories, three years ago. There are now nine different categories a Family can fall under.
“So three years ago the installation stopped making their own fees and DoD gave until … school year 2013-2014 to be on an equal level so we are not quite there but we are getting there,” she added.
At this point, some fees are constantly varying. They go up and they go down, so there have been other changes, Dilts said. “Again, that is basically to bring everybody on the same range.”
CYS still offers the two-and four-week vacation options, available in the child development centers. School-age care does not have vacation option in their fees, because during the summer, they are no longer on a monthly tuition schedule. Patrons have the option of purchasing camp weeks as needed. They just won’t purchase weeks when they plan to go on vacation.
“Everything that was available this year in reference to deployment discounts is still available which is wonderful; there will be no change for the school year 2013 policy,” Dilts added. “This year I think we are getting closer and closer to what the final fees are going to be.”
“People have things happen in their lives and we understand that, so if there is an issue and a family can’t pay on time, they need to see the facility director, coordinator or myself, make an appointment, and we can discuss different options,” she said.
The new late fee policy is from the DoD. All changes that have occurred have not been set locally, by the region or by CYS Services Headquarters. For questions, patrons can log onto militaryonesource.mil and under “contact us” on the top of the page, people can enter their questions.