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Homestead Reservists authorized free childcare during UTA

  • Published
  • By Maj. Roxy Hambleton
  • 482nd Force Support Squadron
One of the biggest stressors for any working parent is the issue of childcare for their children. The same applies for Citizen Airmen on Unit Training Assemblies. But Homestead Air Reserve Base has a program to provide a safe, fun, and convenient place to drop your child off and to clear the stress of childcare during UTAs.

The Homestead Child Care Program, an Air Force Reserve Command-funded program, has been available to Homestead Reservists for several years. This program offers free childcare during the UTA for all DEERS-enrolled children under the age of 13.

“Without a program like this, many of our Airmen would not have the ability to attend UTA due to child care issues,” said Chief Master Sgt. Frederick Becking, 482nd Fighter Wing Command Chief.

“This program,” said Becking, who runs the program, “is our family taking care of your family. The 482nd Fighter Wing is trying to provide another avenue, another means, to have our Airmen be mission ready, because you can’t be mission ready when you are worried about your child three hours away.”

The current program has 18 slots available on a first-come, first-served basis. Every month the reservist must request care for the following month. There are months when all 18 slots fill up quickly and other months when there are slots left unclaimed, according to the base coordinator for the program, Tech. Sgt. Savannah Key.

“This is an awesome program,” said Key. “Parents can drop off their children for up to 12 hours and be at peace knowing they are receiving quality care.”

The childcare centers consist of two off-base providers where the children are dropped off and picked up anywhere between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Key. The children are given breakfast, lunch, and a snack.

Since the program is first-come, first served, and because Homestead ARB has a high operations tempo, Key has requested a third center for approval from AFRC.

Key also shared a little-known bonus of the HCCP known as the “Play Pass Program.” This pro-gram offers each member pre-deployment, during deployment, and post deployment childcare. Up to 18 hours of childcare per DEERS-enrolled child is available per deployer during the de-ployment process.

“We will coordinate this program with any deployer,” said Key, “and offer them some respite to take care of deployment-related issues, or even just to have a night out with their spouse.”

Becking encourages all reservists with need of childcare for children under the age of 13 to regis-ter for the program.

“The peace of mind this program offers is invaluable. [It] is free and you can’t beat that,” said Becking. “It covers you for UTAs, rescheduled UTAs, extended UTAs ... we are trying hard to take care of our Citizen Airmen and the Homestead Child Care Program is just one example of us putting our Airmen first!”

To register for the HCCP, email to request an application form. Once the ap-plication is received, that child is in the program and the parent can request care for the next UTA.