Finding quality child care can be a challenge for some parents. The government accessibility, availability, and affordability of Child Development Programs (CDP) provide key components to meeting the needs of Marine Corps families. 

CDPs are nationally accredited child care services for children of Department of Defense personnel from six weeks through 12 years of age, which include Child Development Centers (CDCs) and School Age Care (SAC) programs.

CDCs include full-day, part-day and hourly care services. All CDCs use state of the art teaching strategies and assessments based on the latest research which are proven valid, reliable and fully aligned with the State Standards to ensure children six weeks through five years of age are equipped with the skills necessary to enter kindergarten.

SAC offers child care services for children ages six through 12 years of age or attending kindergarten through sixth grade. To be eligible for SAC, a child must have started kindergarten by the date care is needed.

A pilot initiative began in October 2015 in response to All Navy (ALNAV) 050/15, Department of the Navy Talent Management Initiative requirement to extend child care by two hours at the beginning and end of the day. Marine Corps Bases/Air Stations CDPs extended operations to 14 hours per day, Monday through Friday. Marine Corps has offered this new initiative at all Marine Corps Bases and Air Stations that operate CDPs. 

"We have two CDCs," said Amy Banks, Family Care Branch Manager at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. "We received positive feedback from parents with the hour extension in the afternoon and additional late afternoon snack.” 

Many parents used the additional hour of child care to visit the gym, spend time with a spouse or other child, run errands without interruptions, complete schoolwork, catch up on work and participate in Command activities. “I work late,” said LCpl Andres Avila, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. “I am very grateful to have the extended hours because I am never worried about my daughter's safety.”

Extending hours improves family morale for busy working families by allowing parents to complete tasks, knowing their children are in a safe place. “The CDC and SAC extended hours has impacted our home tremendously,” said Cpl Symore Bowen, Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, S.C. “My husband works long hours with recruits and I am a full time student. The hours help accommodate our lifestyle.”

The Marine Corps overall usage is five percent of all CDPs' enrollment. Several families told Marine Corps that CDC and SAC extended hours allowed for easier commutes to work, as well as more time for running errands and physical training. “I have saved 3-4 hours and I do not have to come into work on the weekend,” said Sgt. Lorena Castillo, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, Hawaii.

Would extended child care hours benefit your family? Visit to research child care options in your area. This single online gateway provides access to military-operated and military-approved child care options across all military services. It enables families to search for and request care, manage child care requests, and update profiles online, making it easier for families to find the child care they need.

For more information on the Child and Youth Programs, click here.