During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to increase military spending. In December, the president vowed that “all men and women in uniform will have the supplies, support, equipment, training, services, medical care and resources they need to get the job done incredibly well and perfectly.”
Yet his new order has just forced at least two Army bases to suspend some child care programs.
Military families with children in childhood development centers (CDC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Wiesbaden, Germany, were notified that their part-time child care program will be suspended and no new children will be taken on.
“Effective immediately, no new children will be enrolled in the CDC,” states the letter, signed by Fort Knox garrison commander Col. Stephen Aiton. “Also, effective 27 February 2017, the CDC will no longer accommodate childcare for our hourly care and part day families until further notice.”
Trump hiring freeze forces suspension of Military child care programs pic.twitter.com/ApF7QRtzqo— SaIIy Yates (@SaIIyYates) February 22, 2017
The hiring freeze by the president is preventing new caregivers from being recruited, yet, meanwhile, the current staff still experiences sickness and turnovers. For any additional hiring, the Army base commanders are still required to get permission from the service secretary.
This is a blow to the child development center, which already has a record of high turnover and a slow background check system through which all employees must be vetted.
“We are prevented from bringing new caregivers on board but are still having our usual staff turnover and illnesses, which creates challenges to maintaining ratios and providing quality childcare,” the Fort Knox letter states.
Army officials at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, announced all part-day programs will be shut down starting March 1, the letter states. The announcement does not mention hourly care or new children enrollment.
“The closure is a result of staff shortage due to the federal hiring freeze,” says the letter, signed by Wiesbaden garrison commander Col. Todd Fish.
$30 million a month is being spent for Melania to live in NYC but Military child care programs are suspended due to Trump's hiring freeze. pic.twitter.com/MWxW61uGH8— Mr. Jameson Neat (@MrJamesonNeat) February 22, 2017
Trump federal hiring freeze kills child care programs at at least 2 Army bases. Was this another Bannon/Miller screw-up? https://t.co/aHGjhLLfPN— John Aravosis (@aravosis) February 22, 2017
Trump's Federal hiring freeze is hurting our military and vets. But doesn't mind spending our tax $ on golfing and a futile wall.— LisaSea (@Protect1stA) February 22, 2017
Base in Germany just had to cancel youth programs due to Trump hiring freeze. But sure vets, he's your guy. https://t.co/GfeuCvyi6U— Spinoza (@azon1ps) February 22, 2017
@Vets_Vs_Trump Hiring freeze affecting friend recently retired from Army, new job offer on hold, but Trump is all about Vets and jobs, right— Stacy Shaffer (@ShafferStacy) February 21, 2017
Many military families, including those working for the CDC, are dependent on child care program during part time jobs or school hours or in case the full-time day care program does not have a vacancy.
According to one Army spouse with a 1-year-old child, the waitlist at Fort Knox was already booked out until July.
Child care programs account for about half of the Army’s $1.1 billion annual budget for family programs, according to Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Daniel Dailey. And in a recent announcement, it was revealed that about 5,500 children are on waitlists at 230 CDC locations all over the world. The average wait time for a child is four months, and some bases have a wait time of five months or more.
In fact, Hawaii’s U.S. Army base child care programs have a wait time of 16 months.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Handout via Reuters