Airmen stationed at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., juggling childcare needs while supporting a 24/7/365 mission can be challenging.
However, the Family Child Care office at Nellis AFB, Nev., is developing solutions to help Creech members balance their home and work life by supplementing childcare needs in the Northwest part of the Las Vegas community.
“The FCC provider program allows for providers to do childcare out of their homes,” said Regina Mullins, Nellis and Creech FCC chief. “Having providers in the (local) area allows for a home environment with a smaller ratio of adults to children and helps offset costs.”
Last year, the FCC rolled out the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Care and RPA 2 Care programs aimed at reducing childcare costs for RPA Airmen working second or third shift. RPA Care is a program in which the Air Force provides free childcare while the member is on shift work. RPA 2 Care is meant for when stay at home spouses who need childcare to attend an employment opportunity or other appointments, while their service member is on duty.
In the past year, they the FCC office has place more emphasis on the FCC in-home provider program to fill childcare gaps.
“I love being a licensed provider caring for and working with children in my home,” said Lyncola, a Creech FCC provider and military spouse. “I wanted to become affiliated with the Nellis and Creech FCC because there is such a need for childcare among military families in (the) area. Being able to provide the services that on-base providers can give is, I believe, a bonus for military families here.”
While in the provider’s care, children receive structured learning throughout the day according to Mullins.
“On a daily basis I prepare meals and snacks for the day and get activities out that I have planned for the children,” Lyncola said. “I have a schedule I follow which consists of outside time, circle time, reading/story time, art, science and math activities. A few other things I do is assist children with good manners, caring, sharing, patience, responsibilities, as well as communication and teamwork.”
Providers can be located on or off base, but each requires different approvals. For off base, one must begin the process of becoming state licensed and then affiliated with the Air Force. On base, providers need only to become approved by the mission support group commander.
Training requirements are provided by the FCC free of cost and must be completed before approval of opening or becoming affiliated.
“The process for becoming a licensed and certified provider with Nellis and Creech was not difficult at all,” Lyncola said. “With the help of a mentor the process was much easier. I am more than willing to help anyone who is interested in becoming a state licensed child care provider with the process.”
While the program benefits military families needing child care, it also benefits those who wish to become providers.
“This program is particularly beneficial for individuals who would like to start their own business and work out of their homes,” Mullins said. “They would also have the ability to take care of their own children and supplement their family income by caring for other children.”
Families may still utilize the current RPA and RPA 2 Care programs in conjunction with having an FCC provider. For instance, if a member is using RPA care but has to be at work before the CDC opens, the member can leave their child with a provider who can take the child to the CDC during business hours.
To make the FCC provider program a success and improve the child care situation for Airmen who perform 24/7/365 RPA operations, the FCC office needs more prospective providers.
For more information on childcare options available, or to become an FCC provider, contact the FCC office at 702-652-4400.