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By Team MOC

Child development centers blame Trump hiring freeze for cuts in services
(Photo: U.S. Army, Alia Naffouj)

The federal hiring freeze signed into effect by President Donald Trump on January 23 is being cited by multiple child care centers as affecting the function of child development centers (CDC) on military bases. As Military.com’s Amy Bushatz first reported, two memos from commanders at Fort Knox and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany first alerted military families to a temporary suspension of some child care services.

According to another memo, Fairchild AFB will “not be re-instating the Give Parents a Break program or extending hours for exercises.” In addition, the child care program will not be taking any children from waiting lists.

At the Chura Warabi CDC in Okinawa, Japan, an email sent out to families notes that they “will not be able to accommodate any future hourly reservations for the month of February and March.” An email obtained by Military One Click, sent to a military spouse from MCCS Okinawa’s Child Development Services Coordinator states that, “. . . We are doing are best to open hourly care spaces again as soon as we can, but at this time due to many factors, we are unable to do so and remain in ratio compliance.”

The hiring freeze does have exemptions; included in those exemptions are child care workers, according to guidance from the Deputy Secretary of Defense, released February 1.

Approval to hire child care workers must still be sought and the process may create delays in hiring. “The Force Support Squadron is actively working exemption requests to fill positions that candidates had already been selected for. In addition, we’re requesting exemptions for anticipated upcoming vacancies,” notes the memo from Fairchild AFB’s Airman & Family Services Flight. A post on MCCS Okinawa Jobs’ Facebook page echoes the same issues when hiring new workers: “Positions providing child care. . . will be backfilled once these exemptions are approved by the Secretary of Defense.”

Here is the correspondence from both programs:

Dated February 23, 2017 and bearing Department of the Air Force letterhead, the memo to military families stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base Washington reads as follows:

MEMORANDUM FOR CHILD AND YOUTH PROGRAMS (CYP) PATRONS

FROM: 92 FSS/FSF

SUBJECT: Hiring Freeze Impacts – CYPs

On 23 January 2017, an Executive Order was signed to implement a hiring freeze for federal employees. This included both appropriated fund and non-appropriated fund employees. Fairchild’s CYPs have all been impacted by the hiring freeze. The Force Support Squadron is actively working exemption requests to fill positions that candidates had already been selected for. In addition, we’re requesting exemptions for anticipated upcoming vacancies. In the meantime, and until positions can be filled, the CYPs will not be re-instating the Give Parents a Break program or extending hours for exercises. Also, we will not be able to take additional children from the waiting lists. Referrals to the Family Child Care program and listings of off-base programs and resources will be provided to those needing care. Questions or comments may be sent to myself at the Airman & Family Service Flight Chief org box 92fss.fsf@us.af.mil.

The letter is signed by Janna L.H. Keller, Chief, Airman & Family Services Flight. See a PDF copy of the letter here.

In Japan, military families received this email, sent out February 14, 2017:

Good afternoon Chura Warabi Families,

Due to staffing issues related to the recent federally mandated hiring freeze, increase in enrollment, as well as the loss of staffing due to PCS moves, we regret to inform you that we will not be able to accommodate any future hourly reservations for the month of February and March. However, we will honor current confirmed reservations.

We will continue to evaluate the enrollment, space availability, as well as staffing numbers and provide you with updates as soon as they become available. We welcome status update inquiries beginning the week of March 20, 2017.
Additionally, we would like to remind you that hourly child care services can be utilized at any of the MCCS Child Development Centers on island (listed below). We encourage you to reach out to them as a possible alternative to your child care needs.

Camp Foster-Chimugukuru CDC 645-3846/2549
Camp Foster-Ashibina CDC 645-5072/5073
Camp Kinser-Yuimaru CDC 637-2293/2296

Please feel free to contact us for any questions and concerns. We thank you for your continued understanding and patience.

Very Respectfully,
Chura Warabi Center Staff
Click here for the original, redacted email.

 

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