TTU Center helps military families connect with child care referrals

The stress of finding child care in a new community can happen over and over again for military families on the move — but the Upper Cumberland Child Care Resource and Referral Center housed at Tennessee Tech University is stepping in to provide free referrals for those families.

The Military Enhanced Referrals program has just been launched to not only help military families find child care but also to help determine if they are eligible to receive money in the form of child care subsidies.

"Even if a family with one parent in the military has a child or children already enrolled in child care, the family may be eligible for additional subsidies," said Betty Vaudt, project manager for the CCR&R. "We need help in identifying and reaching these families who can use our assistance.

"A military family always has the extra burden of being new to the area and not knowing all the resources available to help them search for child care," said Vaudt. "Certainly many high-quality family child care homes are not listed in the yellow pages, so knowing whom to contact is half the battle."

Families eligible include military families who are deployed or active, live away from a military installation, or live on or near a military installation where childcare is unavailable.

The Department of Defense encourages families to choose high -quality childcare programs, centers nationally accredited or homes where the provider is credentialed or has a degree in early childhood education or child development. Military families will receive a subsidy if they choose a licensed facility, If a high quality facility is not available, they may still qualify for a subsidy.

To provide additional support for children of active duty military personnel, childcare providers may qualify for bonuses for enrolling children whose military parents are on active duty.

An enhanced referral is more than just a phone call and a reference. The CCR&R staff will locate available spaces, confirm age-appropriate vacancies, conduct follow-ups and encourage families to apply for subsidies.

Families who think they may be eligible should contact the Upper Cumberland CCCR&R at 931-372-3780 or 888-621-5753.

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