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CDCs provide quality child care - Part one of a series

by Staff Sgt. Robin Drake
Thunderbolt staff writer
photo by Staff Sgt. Robin Drake

Carolyn Bowie, Child Development Program, reads a story to the children at CDC Two Monday afternoon. Ms. Bowie has been in charge of the 3-year olds for 15 years.

photo by Staff Sgt. Robin Drake

Sara Smith, Child Development Program assistant, shows Janina Rodriguez, 2, the finer points of dining.

photo by Staff Sgt. Robin Drake

Johnny Haynes, Child Development program, is one of three male caregivers at the CDCs. Here, he and several children enjoy an afternoon in the sand with a lizard.

Finding quality and affordable child care is a concern for most parents who are in the process of relocating to a new duty station. Servicemembers with children have the opportunity to apply for enrollment in MacDill's Child Development Program.

The program operates two child development centers. The hours of operation at each facility are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Parents may enroll their children in either hourly or weekly care.

CDC One offers care for children ranging from six months to five years old, while CDC Two provides services for children beginning at six weeks old.

"Our facilities are available for active-duty servicemembers, Department of Defense employees and most contractors assigned to MacDill," said Viola Aikins, CDC One director.

An active-duty servicemember who is also a single parent has first priority for enrollment at the facilities, said Rebecca R. White, CDC Two director.

The weekly fees for each child, regardless of age, ranges from $66 to $120. The cost of enrollment is based on the families' annual income.

Both centers are DoD certified and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

"We provide a foundation for early childhood enhancement in language, social, physical and creative development," said Ms. White.

Additionally the centers offer the "Give parents a break" program. Child care is provided for families with a deployed sponsor or families under severe stress. The program is sponsored by Air Force Aid and includes care for up to four hours a month on specified Saturday evenings. Interested members may contact either CDC for details.

Each facility maintains an "open house" policy for parents interested in a tour.

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