The “child care worker” freeze, as announced by officials at Fort Knox, KY and Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, may have been premature in its warnings.
Originally reported last week as an unintended side effect of the ‘Federal Hiring Freeze,’ military families were left in limbo over the possibility of not having access to some child care programs that are commonplace on Army installations.
Some soldiers and their families have spent the past few days searching for alternative options, with many facing potentially untenable situations for their family care plans.
On February 17th, Colonel Stephen Aiton, garrison commander at Fort Knox, issued a statement saying “Effective immediately, no new children will be enrolled in the CDC (Child Development Center),”
“Also, effective 27 February 2017, the CDC will no longer accommodate childcare for our hourly care and part day families until further notice.”
A similar statement was released earlier this week by Wiesbaden garrison commander Colonel Todd Fish. In the letter, Col. Fish said “effective 1 March 2017, all Part-Day programs (Strong Beginnings, Part-Day Preschool, Part-Day Toddler) currently offered by USAG Wiesbaden CYS will close.”
“This closure is a result of staff shortage due to the Federal Hiring Freeze. This Hiring Freeze prevents CYS from replacing staff who depart for any reason to include normal rotation.”
Speaking with some active duty soldiers, they are still unsure if they will be able to receive child care as they prepare for a permanent change of station (PCS) to these posts.
As of earlier today, sponsors of soldiers that were set to PCS to Fort Knox were searching for child care options for the families they have been assigned.
A Pentagon spokesman said that childcare workers have been exempt from the hiring freeze since the announcement, and that the Department of Defense was “working through the chain of command with these installations to ensure that they are taking advantage of the ability to seek exemptions.”
Many executive orders issued by the Trump administration have been the subject of controversy, often accused of being rolled out without proper guidance and causing chaos as subordinate agencies subsequently attempt to interpret and enforce the orders.
Image courtesy of U.S. Air Force