To install this webapp, tap share then Add to Home Screen.


To install this webapp, please open in Safari.

No-Cost Guard Child Care Program Expands to 20 States

05-14-24 WR Child Care WEBSITE
05-14-24 WR Child Care WEBSITE
Washington Report

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated a nonprofit organization called Child Care Aware of America administers the Army National Guard's Weekend Drill Child Care Program. The WDCC program is currently administered by a child care network called Upwards.

The Army National Guard's Weekend Drill Child Care Program is now available in 20 states nationwide, the National Guard Bureau announced Monday.

The program provides free child care to single soldiers, married soldiers whose spouses work on drill weekends and couples who both drill.

"When we support our National Guard families, we support the missions they make possible," Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the NGB chief, said during a Pentagon ceremony.

"In taking care of our people — and taking care of their families — we help them keep our National Guard’s promise to the nation — a promise to be 'Always Ready, Always There,'" added Hokanson, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hokanson signed an agreement with the WDCC program’s public partners on Monday expanding the initiative to more states.

The WDCC program is now available in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

It is designed to reduce the financial burden of child care on Guard families, harmonizing their military and parental responsibilities.

Hokanson admitted Monday that Guardsmen handle an "intricate balance" of juggling their military service with their civilian careers and commitments.

"Complicating this balancing act is the community-based nature of our National Guard: while our Guardsmen live in nearly every ZIP code, they aren’t like active-duty military families who live on or near a base with a built-in support network," he said. "In fact, they might be the only family in their community who serves."

The WDCC program also aims to enhance the readiness of Guard units and support the component’s recruitment and retention by making child care easier.

The public partners involved in Monday's signing ceremony were West Liberty, Iowa, and Upwards, a child care network.

Upwards administers the WDCC and the federal program’s benefits across the country.

Take Minnesota, where child care providers who participate in the WDCC program are reimbursed $16 an hour per child and up to $1,800 per weekend, KSTP-TV in Saint Paul, Minnesota, reported Sunday.

In recent years, struggles like burnout and low worker compensation have made providing child care harder for civilian and military families.

Hokanson said Monday that loved ones are crucial for accomplishing the Guard’s mission.

"Our service is only possible with the support of our beloved families — who know both the pride and sacrifice of serving our nation," he said.

— By Mark Hensch