Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Availability of Child Care for Every Servicemember and Spouse Act, otherwise known as the ACCESS Act, on Monday. The act looks to fix child care issues for military families in order to boost readiness and retention for the armed forces.
In a press release, Gillibrand said, ““Our military families sacrifice an enormous amount for our country, but their unique needs are not being met by our military’s current approach to child care. This bipartisan bill would help boost our military’s readiness and retention by making sure our military families have access to child care that actually meets their needs.
Supported by Blue Star Families and the Military Officers Association of America, the ACCESS Act would:
- Ensure that Child Development Centers (CDC) on bases have improved hours of operation so that service members and their spouses are actually able to take advantage of the support and help offered by CDCs.
- Require a child care coordinator be installed at every military base on a part- or full-time basis in order to improve services and supports by working with families, leadership, and CDC workers.
- Execute a pilot program for collaboration between base leadership and private child care providers to help improve access to off-base child care support.
“Fixing this problem goes to the heart of military readiness. This legislation enjoys broad support within the military community, and I’m glad we’ve been able to work across the aisle to help these families get the support they deserve,” said Cotton.
At time of publishing, the text for the ACCESS Act was not yet available on Congress.gov.
By J.G. Noll