Creech child care: Taking care of the Hunter family

By Senior Airman James Thompson 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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In an effort to address child care needs for 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing families, Creech received its own Family Child Care coordinator.

Understanding child care coordination and options available is an important priority. The base’s remote location and 24/7/365 mission demands flexibility on the home front, and up until now, the only option for families was working through the 99th Force Support Squadron’s FCC staff located one hour away at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Lewis was recently assigned to fill the new coordinator position at Creech.

“My goal right now is to communicate as much as I can with leadership to determine what is needed from their Airmen and provide that assistance,” said Natalia Lewis, Creech’s Family Child Care coordinator assigned to the 99th FSS.

Lewis said she’s trying to be as proactive as possible with reaching out to the Creech community to disseminate all options, ideally to get ahead of all concerns and issues before they occur.

Last year, Air Combat Command issued a survey to Creech members and visited the base to get a better understanding of family needs.

“Based on that survey and visit, it was determined that military personnel needed FCC support just to navigate the system and serve as continuity on what the Department of Defense and Child Care Aware are providing to cover costs of child care,” said Lewis.

Typically, a base has in-home family child care providers who are qualified through the Air Force and FCC to serve as daycare options for the base populace. At Creech, base housing doesn’t exist, so members either stay off base or dwell at Nellis, thus limiting options.

However, it is little known that people can become in-home providers off-base.

Lewis hopes to not only serve as a one stop shop for all child care concerns, but also bolster community interest in becoming providers.

A critical part of a coordinator’s job is overseeing the family child care providers. Providers must complete certification requirements that include: training modules, monthly unannounced home visits, background investigations, annual training, and certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation for children two weeks to 12 years old.

Once certified, they receive many benefits to include resources and learning materials, as well as an opportunity for people to run their own childcare business while supporting the mission.

Lewis emphasized the importance of Creech families being aware of all their options.

“We have to take into consideration of not only the active duty member but the family itself,” said Lewis. “We want to make sure that because we don’t have facilities on base and nearby providers, that we are proactive in putting the word out to expand childcare needs.”

Lewis said she hopes to positively impact Creech families during her time here.

“That’s what we’re here for,” said Lewis. “Just call us and we’ll try our best to assist.”

For more information, visit: https://nellislife.com/family-childcare-care/ and http://www.childcareaware.org/