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DFMWR ends Kids On Site

Sasha LaForge, supervising program specialist for the CDC, showcases the sitting and reading area in the Mini CDC. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Sasha LaForge, supervising program specialist for the CDC, showcases the sitting and reading area in the Mini CDC. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: December 11, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 11, 2014) -- It’s uncommon for a community to lose a program and then receive something of equal or greater value in its place, but that is exactly what Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation will accomplish when it closes the Kids on Site program Dec. 19.

Kids on Site is a child care facility located in the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center that allows parents to drop off their children in the morning and go exercise in the center. The program is being discontinued due to low usage rates, according to Toni Hampton, acting child, youth and school services director.

“It just wasn’t cost effective, and we have this great, brand-new facility that we can offer care at,” Hampton said, referring to the newly opened Mini Child Development Center.

And the Mini CDC is most certainly not a step down, she added, as the facility is brand new, designed to care for up to 20 children at a time and features a playground – something Kids on Site did not feature.

But the improvements don’t end there, Hampton said, and even eliminate the primary concern of parents not happy to see Kids on Site end.

“When we announced the closing of the program, some parents said, ‘Well, right now I use it for an hour, and if I add on that extra half hour for travel time, then it’s going to cost more to use that service,’” she said, adding that DFMWR started a new program designed to eliminate that cost.

To take part in the program parents just need to tell the Mini CDC staff they would like to take advantage of the offer when they drop their children off and they will receive a card to take to the fitness center, said Hampton. They then have the card date and time stamped by the fitness center staff, and they are only charged for that time – not the travel time, with a maximum of 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after leaving the fitness center.

The improvements don’t stop with the free travel time, though, said the CYSS director. The new program offers another benefit – flexibility.

“Before, parents were limited to the Fort Rucker PFC where the Kids on Site program was located,” she said. “Now, by using the Mini CDC, parents can take advantage of the great classes at Fortenberry-Colton PFC. And the hours aren’t limited like they were with Kids on Site – parents can use the Mini CDC any time the facility is open.”

The Mini CDC operates Mondays-Fridays from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., and rates are $4 per hour of care with no minimum requirement on time, said Hampton, adding that the facility serves breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.

The care at the Mini CDC is on a space available basis, just like Kids on Site was, said Hampton, adding that reservations are not accepted and parents need to bring their children’s CYSS files with them when requesting care.

“Both facilities are great – the one at PFC was very nice, one big room, with great furniture and toys,” she said. “The Mini CDC is bigger and offers more activities. It will be the same quality of care givers and parents may recognize some of the caregivers because a lot of times we use staff from the CDC or school age services to staff Kids on Site.”

Hampton welcomes all parents to visit the Mini CDC at any time it is open to take a tour, talk to the staff and see firsthand what the facility offers.

“I think that once they see it, they are going to love it,” she said, adding that parents are also welcome to call her with any questions they may have about child care at Fort Rucker.

For more information, call Hampton at 255-1055, or the Mini CDC at 255-3066.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/139849/

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