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Eriko Elmoutawakel helps Malic Clark, 2, during playtime Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base’s Child Development Center on the main base. The CDC still has openings for two full-time positions and several flex-time slots. Administrators also are encouraging spouses to start home child-care businesses.
Eriko Elmoutawakel helps Malic Clark, 2, during playtime Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base’s Child Development Center on the main base. The CDC still has openings for two full-time positions and several flex-time slots. Administrators also are encouraging spouses to start home child-care businesses. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Eva Sukal wanted to work at one of Sasebo’s two Child Development Centers, but determined the cost of child care for her children would consume her entire paycheck.

“So, that just didn’t make any sense,” she said. “I can stay home with my children and accomplish that.”

Sukal decided instead to begin a child-care business in her Hario Housing Village home, similar to the one she had in Florida at Pensacola Naval Air Station with her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathaniel Sukal.

To increase day-care options, Morale Welfare and Recreation encourages home child-care businesses.

The need is there.

Last month, the two CDCs — one at the main base and the other at Hario — stopped accepting drop-ins because of a lack of employees. Since then, they’ve filled two full-time positions, allowing the main base CDC to resume drop-in child care on July 18.

But applicants are still needed for two other full-time positions and several flex-time slots that begin at $8.64 per hour, CDC’s Director Laura Knutson said Thursday. “We hope to resume drop-in service at Hario in September,” she added.

People can start a home child-care business, complete with free training, monthly training updates and initial supplies at no charge, courtesy of MWR, said Scott Poluhowich, department director.

“Basically, if someone wants to start a business with no overhead, they should call us,” he added.

Applicants must submit to a background check and attend a week of mandatory training, which starts July 25. Knutson said sessions cover such things as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other first aid, business management, child-development training and professionalism.

“After that they are required to attend monthly training updates, also free of charge,” she said.

Sukal is ready to start her training later this month. She said she’s yet to decide her fee schedule, but the hourly rate for drop-in care at the CDCs is $3.

But to Sukal the business means more to her than added income.

“There are people here that are dual military couples needing child care, those needing hourly care, some needing occasional drop-in service, active duty with odd duty days need it, as do others with weird hours when the CDCs are closed,” Sukal said. “I’ve been in the military. I understand how that can be. I like to think I’m helping out the community in that way.”

Also, she added, “It’s nice being able to help teach new things to the children. But believe me, I also learn new things all the time from them.”

For more details on available CDC jobs or to inquire about home child-care businesses, call the MWR personnel office at 252-3328 or Sasebo Human Resources at 252-3661.

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