East County News Service
May 3, 2018 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) is calling for action on expanding military childcare centers to reduce the backlog of children waiting to get into these facilities and to provide more flexibility for military parents. Davis will direct the Department of Defense to report to Congress on expanding operating hours, contracting with private-sector childcare services, and adding services for the National Guard and Reserves.
“These backlogs are a serious concern as it relates to the service’s ability to recruit and retain quality people,” said Rep. Davis, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “We have to get to the bottom of this and find solutions to fix it. This is a critical issue not only for military families, but for women who tend to leave the services earlier than men.”
A new report by the RAND Corporation looked into why women tend to leave the Air Force earlier than men. It cited child care as one of the reasons and recommended expanding childcare services.
Over 40 percent of servicemembers have children. The Department’s child care program supports 180,000 children in 230 facilities.
Last year, the Army reported a backlog of over 5,000 children waiting to get into military childcare centers.
In the annual national defense bill to be considered this year, Davis will ask the Department to assess the feasibility of using contracts with private-sector childcare service providers at costs similar to current costs for childcare services through child development centers on military installations.
Davis also directed the Department to look at expanding hours for swing shifts, night shifts and weekends to accommodate drill instructors, trainers, and support staff.
The Congresswoman, whose district includes parts of East County, wants to know about expanding childcare services to the Reserves and National Guard in a way that does not impact the service being provided to members of the Armed Services on active duty.
The Department of Defense is required to submit its report to Congress no later than March of next year.
Congresswoman Davis represents the 53rd Congressional District, which includes central San Diego, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista. Davis is a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, serving as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. She is also a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.