MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Family Childcare Program needs 'a few good family members' to provide certified in-home day care in base housing.
Attending the program is mandatory to be certified by the FCC. Noncertified providers -- and the parents who hire them -- are violating Base Order P1710.29A. Both could lose their base housing privileges, said Janet Hooten, FCC director. Without certification from the FCC, individuals can provide only 10 hours of nonrecurring child care a week in their homes.
Housing privileges are not the only thing at stake when using noncertified day care, she said.
"When you put your children into the care of noncertified providers, you are putting their well-being into jeopardy," Hooten said.
Noncertified providers may not have health and safety training. They may not use appropriate disciplinary policies, and their day cares are not monitored. They don't have health cards ensuring they have no communicable diseases.
The FCC program offers an opportunity for family members to earn income, develop careers that move with them and help children in their early developmental years, Hooten, said. "If your 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent and love children, then this may be for you."
To qualify for the program, applicants must live in base housing, be a military family member and pass health and background checks. The director will also interview applicants in their homes to explain what being an in-home day care provider entails.
Those interested in providing in-home day care in base housing can apply at the FCC in Building 13150. The approval process takes at least 30 days from the application date. There is a $25 nonrefundable fee for processing paperwork. This includes the background check on the applicant and anyone age 12 or older living in the household.
Once the application is approved, the FCC staff provides 40 hours of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, sanitation, safety and basic child development. While the overall course is free, some of the classes have fees. Some self-paced child development courses are also offered. Those who complete the program are base-certified as child care providers. They are required to attend additional FCC training every month to continue their education.
Certified providers are also required to have liability insurance. Insurance helps the provider pay court fees or medical costs in the event of an accident or charges of neglect, Hooten said.
The FCC will help new day cares get started. They provide information on child-proofing homes for safety. Before a day care can open, the home must be inspected by the base fire department, sanitation office and safety office. The FCC even loans equipment like strollers and cribs to help defray the cost of starting the day care.
Once certified and insured, new providers are placed on a referral list given to parents seeking child care on base.
"You're self-employed though, you don't work for the base," Hooten said. Providers determine their own fees, set up contracts with parents and control the hours they are open.
"It's good if you have children and want to stay at home but still earn money," said Samantha Holt, an in-home day care provider in San Onofre. "You have to be willing to put 110 percent into it and run it as a business. It's not just a baby-sitting job, it's a professional career."
"You could gross $25,000 annually, just watching three children at $90 a week," Hooten said. "You need to be serious about this though. Maintaining your home as a day care and caring for other people's children is hard work."
This career can travel with a spouse when the service member changes duty stations, she added. Providers have to recertify at each installation, but they will retain the knowledge and experience they acquired here.
"There is always a demand for in-home day care (on Camp Pendleton)," Hooten said.
For more information, call the Child and Youth Program's Resource and Referral Services, 725-9723, or FCC, 725-6173/9549. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.