Quality child care allows Wright-Patt Airmen to focus on the mission

  • Published
  • By Brian Dietrick
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The comfort of having many options for outstanding childcare enable Airmen and civilians at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to concentrate on the mission of providing strength through support.

The 88th Force Support Squadron’s Family Child Care program offers in-home care for children ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC can offer childcare for weekends, evenings and special needs care, depending on availability. They offer multi-age groups and have smaller child-to-provider ratios than base child development centers.

“We recognize the importance of providing high-quality child care to active duty and civilian parents working at Wright-Patt,” said Melinda Jessup, WPAFB Community Child Care Coordinator. “My role is to get out into the community as much as possible and hold information fairs, both on and off the installation, to spread the word and to recruit for our programs.”

FCC offers child care to children from two weeks to 12 years of age. Developmentally appropriate care is provided in homes located on or in the vicinity of the base that have been certified by the Mission Support Group commander.

“It’s a way to ensure the children’s safety, health, and well-being, enabling parents to focus on their military mission with the knowledge their children are well-taken care of,” Jessup said.

One of the hallmarks of the FCC is its ability to tailor the types of care offered to fit virtually every schedule, deployment, or special need. Standard care options include hourly, full and part-time, space available, nights and weekends. Additional options are available for deployment, PCS, military spouse appointment care, and subsidy for both active duty and civilians.

Not only does this program increase the availability of childcare for Team Wright-Patt, it also creates work-from-home employment opportunities for current providers and those thinking about becoming a provider.

“I get paid to be at home with my kids, others’ kids and they don’t have to go to daycare,” said Barb Bullen, WPAFB FCC provider. “How can you not have fun with these guys” laughs Bullen as she watches her kids play at an activity table.

Bullen has been an FCC provider for more than 25 years with the last five of those spent here at Wright-Patt. The spouse of a retired Airmen, she started providing for her husband’s colleagues that struggled to find child care because of the odd hours they worked.

“He is the one who gave me the idea to become a provider,” Bullen said. “Airmen in his security squadron desperately needed child care in order to make it to work and that’s why I started. Twenty-five years later and I am still doing it.”

Bullen, whose three kids were in FCC, assumed she’d stop providing her services once her youngest son outgrew the age parameters. She was wrong. “I enjoy this too much,” she said.

The bonds that are created between the children and their provider don’t end when they outgrow the program. The connections can continue to grow and the line between colleague and family begins to blur.

“I don't have a family that isn't part of my family,” Bullen said. “Everybody makes themselves at home here. I actually just went to a wedding this past summer for one of my old children. That's how close I am to a lot of my families.”

Family Child Care is currently recruiting for full-time, part-time, and expanded child care. Perks include; working from home, setting your own hours and setting your own rate. Providers receive free training, reimbursement for food, the opportunity to loan certain materials and equipment and various additional incentive payments are available upon certification.

FCC providers will go through a background check, are supplied all required training and must maintain CPR certifications.

“There is a lot of flexibility in the program,” Jessup said. “Once a potential provider gets licensed, they can create a business that really works for them and, at the same time, really serves and helps other people.”

The FCC program accepts providers of any gender, on or off base. Residents of government privatized housing who provide child care in their home are required to become Air Force licensed FCC providers.

For more information on becoming a provider or child care availability, visit https://www.wrightpattfss.com/family-child-care or call 937-620-0752.