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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 17, 1997

April 17, 1997


  SUBJECT:       Using Lessons Learned from the Military Child 
                 Development Programs to Improve the Quality 
                 of Child Care in the United States

We now know that children's earliest experiences, including those in child care, have significant effects on learning and development. I believe we all have a role to play in making sure that all of our children have a strong and healthy start in life.

The Military Child Development Programs have attained a reputation for an abiding commitment to quality in the delivery of child care. The Department of Defense's dedication to adequate funding, strict oversight, improved training and wage packages, strong family child care networks, and commitment to meeting national accreditation standards is laudatory. I believe that the military has important lessons to share with the rest of the Nation on how to improve the quality of child care for all of our Nation's children.

I therefore direct you, consistent with existing statutory authority, to share the expertise and lessons learned from the Military Child Development Programs with Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies, as well as with private and nonprofit entities, that are responsible for providing child care for our Nation's children. I further direct you, in doing so, to consult with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Administrator of General Services, and the heads of other Federal departments or agencies with statutory authority over child care programs. I ask that you provide me with a preliminary report within 6 months, and with a final report within 1 year on actions taken and further recommendations, including recommendations on any needed or appropriate legislation. I urge you to consider the following:

    I.      In consultation with States, encourage military 
            installation child development facilities in the 
            United States to partner with civilian child care 
            programs in their local communities to improve the 
            quality of service offered.  The Department of
            Defense staff could provide assistance with local 
            accreditation efforts, offer training as available, 
            assist with State and local child development 
            credentialing processes, and provide models of 
            effective child development practices.
   II.      Establish military Child Care Programs of Excellence, 
            to the greatest extent feasible, to offer training 
            courses to civilian child care providers.  These 
            training courses could demonstrate model practices 
            for child care centers, family child care homes, 
            and school-age facilities.
  III.      Make widely available to the civilian child care 
            community information on the model approaches 
            and designs that the military uses for training 
            and compensation, accreditation and evaluation, 
            playground and facility design, support systems 
            linking individual family child care providers, 
            as well as overall financing strategies.
   IV.      Establish partnerships with State or county employment 
            and job training programs to enable Military Child 
            Development Centers and Family Child Care Homes to 
            serve as training locations for welfare recipients 
            moving from welfare to work.  The Department of 
            Defense programs could provide on-the-job training, 
            work experience, and an understanding of best 
            practices for the delivery of child development 


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