RALEIGH, N.C. — On Monday, the Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood-PLUS (MCCYN-PLUS) initiative launches in North Carolina to make it easier for military families to access and afford quality child care from community providers.
The program is funded and run by the U.S. Department of Defense and critical in our state as North Carolina is home to the fourth largest military presence in the nation.
“Providing more childcare opportunities for military families supports children and their parents as they bravely serve our nation,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Quality child care supports children’s healthy development, grows our state’s economy and helps make sure our troops are mission ready.”
Licensed childcare programs can now participate in MCCYN-PLUS based on their rating in the state’s quality rating and improvement program. This is an expansion of the existing Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, which requires national accreditation from the U.S. Department of Defense. Under the new PLUS initiative, childcare programs in North Carolina can participate if they have a license rated 3 stars or higher.
Currently, 294 providers participate in MCCYN, but there are 2,500 childcare facilities rated 3-stars and above in the North Carolina counties closest to major military installations, which provides a significant opportunity to increase the number of centers and family childcare homes participating in the military child care fee assistance program and increases the number of quality child care options for military families.
MCCYN-PLUS builds on the Military Services (the Department of the Army, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps) history of providing fee assistance to eligible military families to offset the cost of child care in community programs when on-installation child care is unavailable. Of the 67,704 children of active duty servicemembers, 43.4% are 5 years of age or younger. Families that must use community childcare programs could save hundreds of dollars on quality care for their children with the maximum benefit reaching up to $1,700 per month/per child.
“This program leverages the state’s commitment to building a high-quality early care and learning network that helps families raise capable children and build a stronger North Carolina,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “When we invest in families and children by expanding access to affordable, quality early care and learning, we gain overall in terms of better education, health and economic outcomes.”
North Carolina’s commitment to quality early care and learning is embedded in the state’s licensing system with childcare facilities receiving a license rated from one to five stars.
By including quality-rated providers as child care options for MCCYN-PLUS, parents can expect that providers are working toward quality standards that are higher than minimum licensing requirements. North Carolina is one of several states selected for expansion because of its robust quality care rating.
“We are committed to supporting and advocating for our current and former military personnel and their families to receive the benefits they have earned and the services needed to thrive,” said LtGen Walter Gaskin, USMC (Ret.) and Secretary of the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Having access to stable, affordable, quality early care, and learning services can be lifechanging. Expanding MCCYN-PLUS is a step in the right direction to support our military families, contribute to the growth and development of young children, and strengthen communities.”
MCCYN-PLUS is administered by Child Care Aware of America, a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Providers interested qualifying for MCCYN-PLUS should visit Child Care Aware America. Military families looking for help with assistance and locating participating childcare providers can apply through their military service branch.