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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) has selected Virginia as one of just two states to participate in a pilot to expand the military child care fee assistance program, Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN). Previously, only a limited number of community child care providers were eligible to participate in the MCCYN program, which provides fee assistance for families of active duty sponsors, civilians, guard/reservist, and guard/reserve technicians who are unable to access on-installation child care.
Through the new pilot MCCYN-PLUS, Virginia licensed child care providers serving military families in the fee assistance program who are not nationally accredited must participate in Virginia Quality, the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). The QRIS is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. QRIS awards quality ratings to early care and education programs that meet a set of defined program standards. The pilot provides a unique opportunity for this collaborative and value-added partnership with DOD.
“Finding high-quality, affordable licensed early childhood care and education is challenging enough for the average American family, and we know that the availability and accessibility of care is often even more difficult for military families,” said Governor Northam. “The expansion of licensed child care offerings through MCCYN-PLUS will not only support Virginia’s military community, but will also strengthen the quality of child care providers throughout the Commonwealth. My administration is working hard to ensure every child in our Commonwealth has the same shot at a healthy and successful life, and this pilot initiative will help Virginia better serve and support our military families.”
The MCCYN-PLUS pilot occurs on the heels of a larger statewide child care marketing and recruitment plan by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) to increase the quantity and quality of child care programs. As a result of focused efforts on the part of VDSS and local departments of social services, Virginia has experienced significant growth this past year in the number of children served through the Child Care Subsidy Program, which helps low-income parents pay for the cost of child care while they work or participate in education or training programs.
“The MCCYN-PLUS program will help ensure that more of Virginia’s military families have access to quality affordable child care,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD. “When a family has access to child care that promotes a child’s health, happiness, and development, it can lead to better health outcomes for the entire family.”
“Our team will continue our efforts to make Virginia the most military friendly state in the nation and this pilot program provides an exciting opportunity to partner with our military communities,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “We understand how important it is to have affordable, licensed child care available for our military communities. The pilot program will help military connected families access quality child care and continue to serve our country and Commonwealth.”
“Expanding the accessibility of quality child care for Virginia’s families is crucially important,” said Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner Duke Storen. “Quality child care not only improves development and school readiness for children, but benefits families, employers and communities as well.”
When launched in fall 2019, MCCYN-PLUS will immediately affect approximately 400 licensed child care centers currently participating in the MCCYN program, with a possible expansion to more than 800 additional eligible child care centers in regions with military presence.
For information on child care fee assistance for military families, visit usa.childcareaware.org. To learn more about Virginia Quality programs that have made a commitment to quality child care and early learning, visit VirginiaQuality.com. To search for quality, licensed child care or learn how to become a licensed provider, visit ChildCareVA.com.
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