MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
The Department of Defense updated its school year 2010-11 child care fee policy for the first time in six years to equate rates with families' income.
Most Yuma families will see a $10 average weekly rise, with the lowest income brackets seeing the smallest increase.
"These changes reflect families’ salary growth over the past five years as well as the increased costs to provide care," said Vee Penrod, acting principal director on military community and family policy for the Pentagon. "Families with a total family income of less than $85,000 per year will see relatively minimal changes."
The updates, slated to be implemented in all services by Sept. 30, include three new income range categories, totaling nine, a rise in the income cap in each category, and the establishment of $125,000 a year or more as the top earning range instead of $70,000.
"The action follows an in-depth study that determined the fee ranges were no longer in synch with the total family income for the majority of program users," said Robert Gordon III, deputy of military community and family policy. "As a result of this adjustment, we broadened and added income ranges to achieve greater equity within our military community."
Previously, all families making more than $70,000 were paying the same rates. The added categories means there is a smoother distribution of fees correlative to the families’ income.
"This is the first time in six years that DoD has adjusted fee ranges," said Penrod.
Aside for equitability, the increased fees also allow DoD to maintain the high quality service its child care is known for.
"If the parent doesn’t feel comfortable where their child is being cared for, it affects how they do their job," said Thomas.
Child care is billed on a weekly flat-rate system that guarantees each child up to 12 hours of care per day.
"The increased fee ranges allow us to continue providing quality child care to our service members and their families. This includes the ability to recruit and retain quality staff with competitive salaries, maintain initial and ongoing professional development for the direct care staff, and continue achieving our national accreditation for our centers," said Penrod.