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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Parents in the U.S. military community in Daegu now have a chance to place their child in short-term day care whatever the day or hour.

The Area IV Support Activity in Daegu has set up round-the-clock child care for children ages 4 weeks to 12 years old in the home of a newly certified child-care provider — the Army’s first such family caretaker in South Korea in six years, officials said Thursday.

Until recently, the Army in Daegu was limited to offering day care at the Child Development Center on Camp George. But the center operates on fixed hours Monday through Friday.

That posed an inconvenience to single parents or others in the community who needed day care after hours or on weekends — a soldier, for example, who must suddenly leave for temporary duty and needs a safe place to leave a child, Area IV chief spokesman Kevin Jackson said.

Indeed, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. B.B. Bell noted Daegu’s need for such additional day care when he made an official “community visit” to the area last year.

But last month, Area IV’s CDC issued family child-care certification to Arlanda L. Thomas, authorizing her to provide day care from her home on Camp Walker near the Apple Tree Gift and Thrift Shop, Jackson said.

There’s no limit as to how many children can be enrolled for care at Thomas’ home, but she can care for only six at one time and no more than two can be younger than 2, said Jeannie Pai, Area IV Child and Youth Services coordinator.

Monthly costs for care at Thomas’ home are the same as those at the Child Development Center, which range from $196 to $512 depending on total family income. Those fees are lower than costs for comparable civilian services, Pai said, because the Army subsidizes child care.

To be eligible for day care with Thomas, parents must register their children at the Central Registration Office in Camp Walker’s Building 257. Officials said those wanting more information on enrollment or about employment as a family child caretaker, can call Maryvel Jones at DSN 648-7707.

The CDC is open from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; Thursday hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. It currently services about 60 children a week but can accommodate up to 73.

“Currently there is enough room at the CDC” for children needing day care, said Pai.

But the community benefits from having Thomas also providing day care because some children need care before 5:30 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and “this family care provider is willing to do that,” Pai said.

“Also,” said Pai, “if any soldiers have duties on the weekends, they are able to do that as well.”

Jackson said Thomas was certified after she met a “rigorous” set of qualifications. It included a background check, home certification, and a weeklong orientation class that covered child health, communicable disease, administering medication, fire safety, first aid, learning environments, identifying and reporting child abuse, sanitation, nutrition and other topics.

Thomas’ home is equipped with arts-and-crafts supplies, a dining area, sleeping accommodations, a play area, and many books, games and activities geared toward all age groups, the Army said in a news release.

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