Keesler Expanding Child Care Program - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/17/05

Keesler Expanding Child Care Program

The Air Force is looking for a few good child care providers.

Keesler is taking part in a two year program to recruit and train civilians to help meet a growing need for quality day care. Air Force families with young children in particular, face a waiting list for "on base" child care. That growing need is why the service is now reaching out to the civilian community.

"What colors do you have there?," asked day care provider, Suzanne Simler, to a trio of two year olds.

Simler provides day care in her home, which is "on base" housing. The Air Force is now looking for in-home day cares, like this one, among the civilian community.

"Keesler does have quite a large waiting list for child care. Because of the demand for infant and toddler care especially, we can't provide all the care that's needed on base or even in our licensed family child care homes. So, we really need the help of the civilian community," said Ann Smith, flight chief of Family Services Program.

Moore Community House has received a grant to help the Air Force recruit civilian in-home day cares. The program allows up to 25 such homes.

Lisa Cuzman Crick is coordinating the effort.

"We're looking for civilian child care providers who are already child care providers and want to become part of our program. And we're also looking for people who want to become child care providers and we will do all the training necessary to get them on their way," she explained.

Care givers selected will be given background checks and extensive training to meet the Air Force's standards for quality care. Expanding into civilian neighborhoods will offer convenience for many military families.

"It's hard to always get the children on base. If someone lives in Ocean Springs or Vancleave or so, it's easier to have a provider in those areas. More convenient for the parents," said Mary Allgood with the Keesler Family Care Program.

Keesler is among a dozen Air Force locations participating in this child care project.

Civilians wanting to be considered as child care providers for the military should contact Lisa Cuzman Crick The number is  (228) 436-6444.

By Steve Phillips

 

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