Military families will get priority at base-run child care centers as of June 1, under a new Pentagon policy. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced the change in a department-wide memorandum earlier this year, stating that the child-care system was established with the primary intent of providing access to service members. While availability subsequently was expanded to serve the total force, Esper said that the system should focus on “the unique challenges associated with the demands of military service.”
Under the new policy, priorities for uniformed service members would include “supplanting lower priority patrons when necessary,” Esper said.
While giving priority to those in uniform, the change also narrows the definition of “working spouse.” These spouses now must provide proof of employment, or enrollment in an educational system, periodically while their children are in military day care. Failure to do so, or meet the criteria, would lead to removal of children from day care.