Last week, U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., led the charge on Capitol Hill in calling on the Pentagon to close child care gaps for military families.
Waltz teamed up with U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, in rounding up more than 30 members of Congress in writing U.S. Defense Sec. Mark Esper on the matter. U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and John Rutherford signed the letter which was sent out on Thursday.
“The U.S. military has nearly 1.6 million active-duty family members, with more than half of all active-duty members having a spouse and/or dependents. COVID-19 has been especially impactful on military families, with approximately 1.2 million children under the age of 13 in military families requiring child care,” Waltz’s office noted. “Although the DoD has an extensive network of Child Development Centers providing low cost, subsidized options for military families, the waitlists are long – and nearly 18,000 military children remain on them nationwide. This number does not account for the surge of school-age children requiring child care this fall. The letter specifically calls on DoD to work with community leaders, veteran service organizations and state and local governments to develop and implement creative solutions and encourages creative scheduling and maximizing teleworking.”
“Many of these families have reached out to us asking for support in navigating this complex problem. Single military parents and dual-military couples with children face added challenges given their essential roles at work and no additional help at home. Military-civilian couples fear the civilian spouse may be forced to quit their job to take care of their children, jeopardizing the financial stability of those families,” the representatives wrote. “We urge you to work with community leaders, veteran service organizations and state and local governments to develop and implement creative solutions.”
A host of groups including Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Partners In PROMISE, Military Family Advisory Network, Blue Star Families, Service Women’s Action Network, Association of the United States Navy, United States Army Warrant Officers, TREA: The Enlisted Association and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have backed the proposal.
Waltz, the first Green Beret to ever serve in Congress, sits on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.
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