As Democratic and Republican leaders continue to try to work out a long-term solution to funding the government, President Trump’s proposed budget has emerged as one key starting point in the negotiations. One potential change in the budget could have a large impact on people connected to Corvias Scholars: substantial cuts to child-care programs for military families.
The military has a reputation for providing excellent child-care, with over 700,000 children participating in one of the military’s many child-care programs. Programs are affordable, with parents paying on a sliding scale based on income, and ninety-five percent of the programs are nationally accredited. The programs have been justified by the demanding nature of the military’s work, and the need to ensure army kids have a place where they can receive a stable source of high-quality support and education.
In President Trump’s proposed budget, such programs would receive about $100 million less in funding. MilitaryTimes was unable to determine why these funding levels would decrease after the proposed budget was unveiled.
Losing such programs could make it difficult for military spouses to pursue employment, or eliminate a source of support for spouses parenting alone during a deployment.
However, funding for military family support programs saw a net overall increase in President Trump’s budget due to a $200 million increase in ‘warfighter and family services.’ While a breakdown of that additional funding was not available, advocates for military families suggested it may not be enough to keep up with the demands of a growing military.
It’s also important to note that military child-care services have already been impacted by budgetary negotiations. Bases in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Fort Knox, Kentucky had to temporarily close certain child-care services after a hiring freeze issued by the President made it difficult to hire enough staff to keep the facilities open. While it is possible to ask for exceptions to the hiring freeze, a sluggish hiring process has led to long wait lists for spots in child-care facilities across the military.
This is also not the first time programs benefiting military families have been targeted for cuts. In one example, programs that allow military children to use the GI bill have been targeted for elimination as a budget-saving move.
While none of these cuts are imminent, the fact that they are emerging in proposed budgets certainly suggests that they may be coming down the pipeline. It will be important to stay tuned to see how the budget might ultimately impact military families, and to speak up if ultimately these changes produce effects that matter a lot to you. Contacting your representatives in Congress is a fantastic way to show elected officials what is important to you, and is particularly important with issues like this that only affect a subset of our population. Websites like https://contactingcongress.org/ make it easy to find your representatives’ phone numbers and email addresses. As these potential changes to military programs take shape, consider speaking out if this issue matters to you!