- What is Army Fee Assistance?
It is the Army’s contribution toward the total cost of child care for Army Families. In on post programs, Army Fee Assistance supplements Parent Fees to cover the actual cost of care. In Community Based programs, Army Fee Assistance buys down the higher cost of off post care allowing eligible Families to pay parent fees based on those charged at Army installations.
- What are the major changes in the DoD Child Care Fee Policy for SY 15-16?
- Fees increased approximately $2-$22 across Total Family Income Categories
- School Age Care fees will utilize the low cost option fee in areas where cost for comparable care within the installation catchment area are significantly lower.
- In the case of unmarried, legally separated parents with joint custody, or divorced parents with joint custody, children are eligible for child care only when they reside with the Military Service member oar eligible civilian sponsor at least 25 percent of the time a month that a child receives child care through an Army program. Any deviation requires a waiver from the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (OACIM).
- Full Day Child Care is 6-12 hours per day
- Part Time Child Care is less than 6 hours per day
- Refunds are not authorized for: Staff training (no more than 2 days per year)
- Parent Central Services will retain previous years’ documentation. Once the annual fee audit is completed Parent Central Services should destroy previous year’s documentation.
- Children participating in Category A-C team sports regardless of the age of the child will pay the required fee.
- Children are eligible for the SAC summer/seasonal camps after beginning first grade and before beginning sixth grade. Separate summer/seasonal camps will be conducted for kindergarten children. Programs approved to integrate kindergarten children into the SAC program, prior to entry into first grade, must maintain a ratio of one staff for each twelve children in the SAC program when kindergarten children are present.
- OACSIM establishes the policy to determine eligibility for and to calculate the amount of Army Fee Assistance and corresponding parent fees. This policy is outlined in EXORD 221-13. ACSIM is the authority to update child care provider rate caps.
- Deployment Support Services guidance is forthcoming.
Is this the first of other fee assistance that will be phased out?
According to Department of Defense, it is possible in the future, but no decisions have been made at this time. Multi-year trends and analysis may determine discontinuation of fee assistance in other categories for contractor employees in the future. The implications of fee increases will then be studied to determine the impact on the overall fee system before further changes are implemented.
Who will be affected by these fees?
These fees apply to families who attend regularly scheduled Child Development Center (CDC), Family Child Care and School Age Care (SAC) programs during the year.
How can DoD make this kind of decision? Isn’t child care an entitlement?
DoD child care is not an entitlement. Child care is a readiness issue and priority for child care is given to working Families, but even for these families, military child care is not always available. The demand is high and the spaces are limited. The Military Child Care Act of 1989 required DoD to establish a uniform fee schedule based on Family income. Patrons who use DoD child development programs pay for services. Parent fees account for a portion of the cost of child care. The remaining child care costs are paid for with appropriated funds authorized by Congress.
What services will families receive for the new fee ranges?
Fees include 50 hours of care per week and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved meals (breakfast, lunch and a snack). Full Day SAC program fees should be based on Full Day CDC fees and include the number of hours the program is operating SAC. The SAC rates include all meals and snacks when provided. Fees must be reduced by 20 percent when meals and snacks are not provided during the full-day summer program.
When will the new child care fees go into effect?
The SY15-16 CYS Services installation fees are effective NLT 1 Dec 2015. Community Based fees for ACCYN/ASPYN and new enrollees will begin 1 Dec 2015, and for children currently enrolled in Community Based programs (e.g. OMCC and MCCYN) new fees will go into effect during re-registration of each child.
How is TFI determined, and what forms are required for verification?
The Application for Department of Defense Child Care Fees DD Form 2652 or electronic equivalent will be used to verify the total family income (TFI) as defined in (DoDIs) 6060.02.
Why is the allowance for housing included in the total family income computation?
Section 1793(a) of Title 10, United States Code requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish DoD wide uniform child care fees based on total family income (TFI). In 1990, when the fee policy was first established, the family's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 was used to determine TFI.
In 1993, the definition of TFI was changed to be consistent with the Internal Revenue Code's definition for military members claiming Earned Income Tax Credit for Child Care. According to the IRS definition, TFI comprises all earned income to include wages, salaries, tips, long term disability, voluntary salary deferrals, quarters allowances (BAQ), subsistence allowances (BAS), and in-kind quarters and subsistence received by military members, and anything else of value, even if not taxable. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH Type II) was used instead of BAQ because of changes to the housing allowance system in 1998.
The computation of TFI is based on earned income rather than on disposable income. The BAH used to calculate TFI represents an in-kind service that you receive in lieu of a housing payment. As noted above, subsistence allowance is included in the category of earned income.
Parent fees are established to generate approximately 50% of the direct costs of operating the program with the remainder of the program subsidized by appropriated funds. Regardless of income, all military child development program patrons receive some level of subsidy.
How is TFI calculated for non-related Families or non-married couples and for couples who are geographically separated?
In households where non-related Families are living in the same residence, include the income of all adults who financially contribute to the welfare of the child. In households where the parents are married or in a legal partnership and the custodial parent is geographically separated from the sponsor include the income of both.
How is the income for spouses/partners who work on commission and who do not have a previous tax return calculated?
Based on DoD guidance individuals who have no employment income history and whose income fluctuates throughout the year must provide an employer estimate of the anticipated earnings. Individuals who are self-employed will be required to provide an estimate of annual earnings.
How is the income for individuals who own their own business calculated?
Based on DoD guidance the TFI is calculated using the business net income.
Will families have to resubmit documentation if there have been no changes to financial arrangements?
All families are required to provide documentation, such as a current Leave and Earning Statement (LES), annually to verify their income. This information is necessary for future assessments of the fee policy.
What happens if I do not provide the required income documents to determine my TFI Category?
Families who do not show proof of income are charged the TFI Category 9 fee.
What happens if I am unable to pay child care fees?
Commanders may authorize financial hardship waivers for Families with temporary documented financial hardships. Information is available at the local CYS Services Office.
Will civilian employees be taxed on the value of the child care space?
Title 26, United States Code, section 61 and title 26, Code of Federal Regulations, section 1.61-1, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), provide that child care subsidies are generally treated as income. This income is generally calculated by adding the value of the subsidy to the taxable income of civilian employees who benefit from the subsidies. The cost of each space in DoD installation based child development programs is equally subsidized for both Military Service members and civilian patrons through appropriated funds. These subsidies include direct support for a limited number of staff salaries, equipment and supplies. Additional financial support is provided in the form of installation contracts, facility and grounds maintenance, and other personnel support. In the absence of subsidies, the cost of child development programs offered to both Military Service members and civilian employees would be significantly higher. DoD will designate a Third Party Administrator (TPA) and civilians will be required to register with this TPA. Additional information will be forthcoming and provided by DoD.
Do Families using Army Child Care receive a discount when they have more than one child enrolled?
Yes. The full fee is paid for the child enrolled in the most expensive child care option and the remaining children receive a 15% Multiple Child Reduction (MCR). The full fee is applied to the most expensive child in the FCC Home when children are enrolled in both FCC and Center Based programs. For details visit the appropriate CYS Services Office.
Does the Army have to follow the DoD Child Care Fee Policy?
Yes. The Military Child Care Act of 1989, codified in Section 568 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 1996, requires the DoD to establish DoD-wide uniform child care fees based on TFI for use by all branches of the Service.
Will I need to have my TFI category revalidated?
TFI is generally only validated during CYS Services annual registration or re-registration. Exceptions include when spouses find/lose employment and/or there are reductions in TFI.
I am a Foreign Military Service Member assigned to the Installation. What fee will be assigned to me?
Foreign Military Service members assigned to the Installation/serving the Department of Defense will pay the child and youth fee based on their TFI.