In-Home Child Care - A Great Career Choice for Mil Spouses

September 08, 2021

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With military spouse employment at an all-time high, now more than ever, mil spouses are looking for creative ways to earn money. One of the most impacting results of the COVID-19 pandemic was the loss of many jobs on installations across the country, directly adding to the difficulties military spouses face when seeking employment. For some spouses, the most logical conclusion is to explore working from home. With options ranging from working for major corporations like Amazon to exploring starting your own business, the opportunities are endless. If you’re a parent to small children, you might explore becoming a military-approved in-home child care provider.

In-home child care providers offer safe and secure care in home environments on installations across the country. Programs offered by all branches of the military are available to anyone interested in becoming a home child care provider.

Why Choose to Become a Child Care Provider?

Working in child care can be a rewarding and fulfilling career, especially for military spouses looking for creative ways to have a career and still move with their spouses. Being a successful child care provider requires determination, dedication, ethics, and commitment. Here are the top five reasons you might choose to become a child care provider.

  • Child Care is a quickly growing industry

In 2019, the child care industry in the United States was valued at 54.3 billion. That number is expected to grow significantly over the next several years.

  • Have a career that can move with you

One of the many challenges of military life is finding a career that can move with you. Becoming a child care provider can be the first step to a profession that’s both meaningful and rewarding - and it can move with you as you and your family experience different duty stations. 

  • Flexible working hours

Parents need child care at all hours, so you have the potential of setting hours that work well for you and the responsibilities you have for your family. As a military child care provider, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that military kids have healthy and safe child care options. 

  • Enables career progression

The governing authorities within the child care industry will most often require you to work toward either a certificate or a diploma in early childhood education or care. This is great because it ensures a better quality of care for the children and gives you more knowledge about the best practices necessary to provide optimal child care. 

  • Watch children grow and develop

Working with children is incredibly rewarding. It’s a chance to see children grow and become confident and develop critical thinking skills. For many child care providers, watching children grow and develop is one of the most rewarding aspects of their careers. 

Ready to find out more?

Once you’ve decided that becoming an in-home child care provider is the right choice for you, you’ll need to follow branch-specific steps on how to get certified. Each branch has a different set of instructions that you have to follow. Here, we’ll cover how to apply for the Navy’s Child Development Home (CHD) program.

The CDH program will give you the training you’ll need to obtain approval from the commanding officer at your installation. The commanding officer will also provide certification to establish a child care business in your home. To become a CDH provider, you’ll have to complete the following:

  • Submit a medical screening
  • Fill out an application
  • Provide three references
  • Undergo an extensive background check 

After completing these steps, the CDH director will set up an interview with you. The interview is a critical step in the certification process because it allows you to discuss your personalized approach to child care. The CDH director will also ask you questions about the impact of a child care business on you and your family. This interview is your chance to discuss any questions you may have about embarking on this rewarding career.

Once you have decided that child care is your new career, you’ll need to complete a free 20-hour training program. This program focuses on developmentally appropriate child care practices, CPR, discipline training, child abuse, and some coursework related to running and operating a small business. The training will also help you connect with other child care professionals via the National Network for Child Care.

It might take some time for your certification process to be complete. Be patient as your paperwork is reviewed. As a CDH provider, you’ll be required to attend monthly meetings. You’ll also receive monthly visits from the CDH director. When it’s time to move again, you should contact your new installation as soon as possible to receive information about recertification processes. 

Financial Considerations

Operating a small business out of your home comes with certain costs. You are required to carry liability insurance, which can be expensive. However, the Navy offers CDH providers the opportunity to participate in its commercial insurance program, giving you access to insurance at a much lower cost than civilian companies.

Most items you purchase to run and operate your child care facility are tax-deductible. To help offset the start-up expenses, many CDH programs have lending closets full of items that you can borrow at no charge. 

You will be responsible for purchasing USDA-approved food for all children in your care. The USDA provides cash reimbursements to those who participate in the program.

Finally, you’ll need to determine the cost of your services. This is negotiated between you and the parents of the children in your care. Your CDH program will also offer guidance. 

LMH and Child Care Providers

As a general rule, LMH allows child care businesses in your home, provided you are certified and licensed. We ask that you notify your District Office as soon as you open your business. We keep a list of child care providers for inquiries.

As an LMH resident, you are not permitted to place advertising signage in your yard. You can only post signs, banners, or other communications advertising your services on authorized bulletin boards. Signs are not allowed to be posted to utility poles, mailboxes, trees, or other areas. 

If you have questions about advertising your child care business, please get in touch with your District office. 

Embarking on a child care career is an exciting decision that takes careful planning and consideration. If you determine that being an in-home child care provider is the best choice for you, we strongly recommend you speak directly with your branch’s child care office. Visit these links for more information on how to get started on this exciting career. 

Navy Child Development Home (CDH)

Marine Corps Family Child Care (FCC)

Army Family Child Care (FCC)

Air Force Home Community Care (HCC) 

Related: What is MWR and how can it benefit your family? 

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