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Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Scott Poluhowich said Friday that a home childcare program initiated at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, is finally bearing fruit.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Scott Poluhowich said Friday that a home childcare program initiated at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, is finally bearing fruit. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo Naval Base’s first home-based, after-hours child-care service in eight years opened for business last week, with two more scheduled to open by the end of March.

Eleanor Enriquez, who lives in Main Base Housing, was the first to restart the service, and the two providers to follow live in the Hario Housing Village, said Scott Poluhowich, Sasebo’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation director. Off-base residents cannot provide the service, he said.

The Child Development Centers — one at Hario and another on the main base — are operated by MWR and offer child care only during typical business hours.

Costs for the at-home service vary depending on rank, according to MWR. The minimum for a full week — up to 40 hours of child care — is $53 per child for families of the lowest pay grade and $106 for the highest. Discounts are available for additional children from the same family.

Poluhowich explained that a gradual influx in recent years of dual-servicemember families and single-parent servicemembers made home-based child care after hours a quality-of-life necessity.

Last July, Poluhowich announced incentives for base housing residents to start home child-care businesses, including free training, monthly training updates and initial supplies at no charge, courtesy of MWR.

“Basically, if someone wants to start a business with no overhead, they should call us,” he said then, and the offer still stands.

Applicants must submit to a background check and attend mandatory training covering such topics as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other first aid, business management, child development training and professionalism.

Completing the requirements to open a home child-care business can take two to three months, he said. A major stumbling block has been mandatory drug screening.

“It wasn’t that they were failing the drug screens,” he said. “We’d get people who were interested, but because of the extended period of time it took for the results, they’d simply lose interest and look for other work.”

Enriquez, however, was not deterred.

“The first reason I do this is because I love kids. Also, I want to work from home,” she said. “MWR helped make getting started much easier.”

She said MWR’s lending locker for home child care lets care-givers select various “toys, art supplies, tables and chairs and cots for the kids.”

“So far, I think this is a very good business,” she said. “I would recommend it and they need more people doing this.”

Call the Child Development Center at DSN 252-2986 for information about current home child-care providers or to learn more about opportunities for potential home child-care providers.


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