More than 60 military installations, about 30 percent of the total, will see their inclusion in the Defense Department's new online child care portal delayed until 2017, officials said.
All 218 installations had been scheduled to be integrated into MilitaryChildCare.com, a site designed to make it easier and faster for parents to find care, by the end of this year. To date, 137 bases have made the move in a rollout that began with 18 locations in January 2015.
The delays are linked to the portal's move to a new host – the Defense Information Systems Agency. DISA "provides cutting-edge technology to support the growth of [MilitaryChildCare.com] and ensure optimal performance," DoD spokeswoman Laura Ochoa said. The portal is now hosted by the Navy Data Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
A breakdown of the installations, by service:
- Army: 32 on board, 37 still to come.
- Navy: 56 on board, six still to come.
- Air Force: 37 on board, 36 to come.
- Marines: 12 on board, two to come.
Seventeen of the installations are set to join MilitaryChildCare.com in December. A timeline for the remaining 64 will be announced soon, Ochoa said, though the website states implementation will conclude in December 2017.
About the program
MilitaryChildCare.com is designed to streamline the process for families to get information about, and arrange for, military child care at a service member's current or next duty station, whether at child development centers or DoD-certified family child care homes. The system provides a customized search tool that allows parents to search for care based on their child's age and other family preferences.
Parents can put their child on multiple waiting lists. The system also helps parents get a better picture of the availability of child care at a potential future duty station.
Parents at installations participating in MilitaryChildCare.com are required to use the portal to request military child care, Ochoa said Tuesday. At locations where programs are not yet participating, parents must contact local child care program offices.
For 17 days in June 2015, the MilitaryChildCare.com site suffered an outage that resulted in the loss of some data. At the time, officials said the problem occurred during routine maintenance, and was not due to any cybersecurity intrusion or hacking. The problem also affected other Navy websites.
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.