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PHOTO CAPTION:  Jessica, wife of Sgt. Keithen Thompson, Medical Department Activity " Alaska, recently received her Child Development Associate certification allowing her operate an authorized in-home child-care facility on post. May is amnesty month for those who may currently be providing unauthorized care against Army regulations and United States Army Garrison Fort Wainwright policies. For more information, call 353-9544. (Courtesy photo)

May 9, 2013
By Allen Shaw
Fort Wainwright PAO


FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Child-proof caps on medicine bottles, warning labels on things that might be harmful to our health, laws to protect citizens from misdeeds and even United States Army regulations usually come about as a result of something bad happening to someone more than once.

Back in the day there wasn't a Consumer Product Safety Commission, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Army regulations and policy letters addressing the proper care of children. Lessons were learned and guidelines were put in place.

There are rules that Army Families are expected to follow. Garrison Policy #20 specifically addresses child supervision and babysitting. In that policy, the definition of supervision is the act of watching, directing and guiding children's activities in order to ensure their safety and well-being. The amount of protection required depends on the age of the child. There is also a huge difference between child-care and babysitting, especially for those living in military housing.

Anyone on Fort Wainwright operating a child-care facility in their home is required to be certified by the Child Development Association. Non-compliance could result in serious consequences including eviction from on-post housing.

Linda Harter, director, Family Child Care, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation said, "Anyone interested in becoming a CDA certified provider just needs to contact me or the Child Youth Services designated trainer."

A Fort Wainwright Family member, Jessica, wife of Sgt. Keithen Thompson, Medical Department Activity- Alaska, recently received her certification and although it may seem a bit complicated to some, it is a requisite for those who provide child care in a home on an Army installation.

When Thompson decided she wanted to be home with her own children and "have a standout business" at the same time, she reviewed the requirements for eligibility. "I took online child-care courses to obtain the 120 hours of the education portion the CDA requires." After approaching the FCC and obtaining the paperwork involved, it was determined she needed 480 hours of experience in a work setting of an FCC provider to continue the process. "After I reached the 480 hours needed, the director did a couple in-home observations with me as my advisor then submitted my application," Thompson said.

While the application was under review she had to obtain parent questionnaires and compose a professional resource file, which was reviewed by an appointed CYS council representative. After an orientation, Thompson had another in-house assessment, "Which required all the necessary documents, an autobiography, a copy of six Statements of Competence, a completed copy of the CDA Assessment Observation Instrument (from her advisor) and my 17-page Resource Collection File," she said. That visit included an Early Childhood Studies review and impromptu interview. She received her CDA certificate four weeks later.

Although it required some effort Thompson said it was well worth it. "I have a better understanding of child-development stages and it's so very important to be recognized as an accredited day-care. I find it very rewarding to know I did it right."

May is amnesty month for Army Families who are not doing it by the book. CYS and FCC will help anyone providing child care without a certificate, with no repercussions. "They will still have to go through the orientation process," Harter said, "but the best part is that parents currently doing unauthorized care can remain in their home after they become certified without going on the waitlist."

For more information on CDA certification or in-home child care, call the FCC at 353-9594.