Child-care needs vary by base across the Pacific. Infant care — with its expensive low provider-to-child ratio — generally is in higher demand, as is hourly, extended duty or nontraditional care. Here is information child-care officials provided on conditions at specific bases in Okinawa, Japan, Guam and South Korea:


Kadena Air Base: Kadena Air Base has built three new Child Development Centers in the last seven years at a total cost of more than $18 million. The facilities provide a total of 656 full-time slots for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years and 144 part-day enrichment spaces for 3- to 5-year-olds.

The largest number of children on the waiting list are 3- to 5-year-olds, said Kathleen Hartwell, Family Member Programs Flight chief, at Kadena’s 18th Services Squadron.

“We have 21 children in that age category waiting for care,” she said recently. “The greatest need for care on Kadena, however, is one that is not represented in the waiting list numbers. We have numerous families who work shifts other than the traditional (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) shift. These families often have more difficulty locating appropriate child care than those who work more traditional hours.”

Hartwell said more in-home child-care providers are needed for the children of shift workers and those with nontraditional work weeks.

Camp Foster, Camp Kinser, Camp Courtney: As of last week, 12 families who needed care immediately were on the central CDC unmet needs waiting list for camps Foster, Courtney and Kinser, said Janet Taitano, chief of Children, Youth and Teen Programs. This means these people do not have any care for their children and are waiting for a space, officials said.

In the interim, these parents “probably go off base, either that or some families hire a Mama-san to come into their home and take care of their child,” Taitano said.

There are 185 on the preference for care waiting list between the three camps; these parents have a child-care space but would prefer to have care in a different location or a different type of care, such as in a base center or in a family child care home.

Camp Foster officials are hoping to get approval for a Japanese government-funded project to build a new CDC at Camp Foster with capacity of about 200 spaces, Taitano said. The camps actively seek both CDC staff and spouses interested in becoming DOD-certified in-home child-care providers.

The centers are not staffed at 100 percent, which “does affect enrollment at the center,” Taitano said. “It just seems like we don’t have enough people applying for these jobs.”

CDC employees receive priority for their children at CDC, an incentive established in July. Hourly care on a space-available basis currently is offered at camps Foster and Courtney but not Kinser.

“Once staffing is back up, we’ll be able to offer that,” Taitano said in February. “Camp Kinser is where we have our greatest shortage of staffing.”


Yokosuka Naval Base: Of 40 children on the list of those awaiting care, most were ages 6 weeks to 12 months, said Kathryn Hardebeck, Child Development Program administrator at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. None of the waiting parents, however, are working families with top priority for care, such as single-parent servicemembers. The longest wait — about eight months — is for infants. Yokosuka is one of the few bases with an hourly child-care center. Most slots are used for hourly care, Hardebeck said.

Yokota Air Base: The most recent months’ waiting lists have run at about 22 children each, said Robert McFall, Family Member Programs Flight chief for the 374th Services Division. The greatest demand is for care for infants to 24 months. For children older than 2 years, “you walk in, we pretty much sign you up,” he said. Of the 22 on the list, three are single military parents, nine are active duty with a spouse working or attending school full time, and 10 are active duty with an unemployed spouse.

“We do not have any age group with a waiting list large enough to warrant opening any additional classrooms,” McFall stated in a written response to questions from Stars and Stripes.

Yokota is the first Air Force base to supplement its CDC staff with five to 10 recent University of Northern Iowa early childhood or elementary education graduates, he stated. The base currently has 16 in-home, DOD-certified providers, with five in the process of certification. There is not a demand for additional homes, McFall wrote.

Misawa Air Base: One hundred ninety-five slots in two CDCs. About 36 children recently were on the waiting list, though 11 were from families not yet on base. Two families, said Terry Shaw, Family Member Programs Flight chief, were high priority: single or dual active-duty servicemembers or command-sponsored DOD civilians. Twenty-five Family Child Care homes can accommodate up to 142 children. One is accredited and three are in the accreditation process, Shaw said.

Camp Zama: Two CDCs, at Camp Zama and Sagamihara Housing Area, currently have a small waiting list. Four children were on the list at the beginning of March, said Paula Harding, Camp Zama CDC director. No alternatives exist for those who can’t get into the CDCs, Harding said: Off-post child care is available only for pre-school-age children and no certified in-home child-care providers are on base. Zama is actively recruiting in-home child-care providers, she said.

To accommodate working parents needing child care outside the duty day, the CDC opens at 5:30 a.m. CDC staff members provide emergency care in their home as needed, Harding said.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi: Base officials did not provide detailed information on current waiting list figures.

“Waiting lists depend upon the child’s age group,” officials said in a written statement. “Base population demographics and child care requirements change frequently.”

Four Child Development Homes providing 24 spaces for different age groups are available for $3 per hour.

Sasebo Naval Base: One of the few U.S. bases in Japan without a waiting list. The base’s two CDCs currently are only 80 percent to 85 percent full, said Laura Knutson, Morale, Welfare and Recreation child care director. No in-home child care providers currently are on base; a few are needed to help with hourly care. She said Sasebo also is working to meet a need parents identified for more drop-in child-care slots.

Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station: Iwakuni recently removed nine children from the CDC waiting list by hiring 12 English-speaking Japanese nationals, said Joyce Woolman, Children, Youth and Teen program manager.

“Our biggest stumbling block is staffing,” she said.

The base now has nine home-care providers, though none have openings for infants. Iwakuni plans to soon provide a resource and referral person who can help families find child care off base. The base also plans to offer drop-in child care within the next few months, she said.


Andersen Air Force Base: Officials said they are meeting all of the base’s child-care needs. The CDC has no waiting list. The base has 13 licensed in-home providers; one is in the accreditation process.

“At the present time, there is no need for additional (in-home) providers, since seven out of 13 providers have openings for all age groups,” officials stated.

A licensing class is conducted monthly for those interested in becoming providers.

U.S. Naval Base Guam: All parents are offered either a slot in the main base CDC, at the Naval Hospital CDC or in a Child Development Home, officials said. The CDCs have eight infant slots each. Some parents prefer to stay on the waiting list because they would prefer a CDC space rather than one in a DOD-certified home, said Amy Davis, Children, Youth and Teen program administrator. On the preference waiting list are nine infants at main base CDC and 21 children at Naval Hospital CDC, including 10 infants.

Parents of infants are encouraged to use a Child Development Home, Davis said, in part because “the home atmosphere for an infant is a lot healthier.” In-home care for infants and young children is also more cost-effective than center-based care, according to a RAND Corporation study.

South Korea

Area II: In Seoul, children in single-parent homes, or in two-parent homes where the parents both work, are guaranteed a space in child care, said Roxanne C. Chancellor, coordinator for Area II child and youth services. But two-parent families with one spouse at home may spend time awaiting an open slot, she said. There’s now a waiting list for toddlers from such families.

She said efforts to start sanctioned home-based day care have fallen short. People who provide such care are required to live on base. So many families live off-base in Seoul, she said, that limited numbers meet the requirements.

Area IV: No children at CDCs at camps Hialeah, Carroll and George are on a waiting list, officials said. Camp Carroll Child and Youth Services has a new 60-child facility incorporating school age and child development services.

The only waiting list at Camp George is for infants yet to be born or younger than 6 weeks, said Hyacinth Smith, CDC director.

The CDC cannot turn down single or dual active duty or DOD civilian parents needing child care, she said.

“Even if our classrooms are full,” she said, an overflow room is used until regular classroom spaces open. The CDC is completely full, she said, but a few hourly spots are available and enrollment is being taken for the part-day preschool program for children ages 3 to 5.

Area III: Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek currently has no child care facilities.

Area I: Soldiers on unaccompanied tours only.

Osan Air Base: Officials did not provide information about their child-care programs.

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