|Story & Photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Children of a deployed parent(s) in the Fort McCoy community are
eligible for 16 hours of free respite child care per month.
Jan Fink, Fort McCoy Child, Youth & School Services (CYSS) coordinator,
said the program is funded through the Army Family Covenant. During
fiscal year 2009, the total Army Family Covenant benefits to the
installation’s CYSS program were calculated at $13,802.50.
The program is for children of military families, where at least one of
the parents is deployed. Participation eligibility for the program
begins 30 days before a deployment begins and expires 60 days after a
Betsy Tadisch and Lisa Bjerke of
the Strong Beginnings Classroom lead Child Development Center
youth in a planned activity.
Participants can take the 16 free hours in four-hour increments.
After the 16 hours is taken, participants in the program pay $2 per hour
for additional respite care. Eligible children who also are enrolled
full time in the CYSS programs receive free registration and a 20
percent discount on monthly childcare fees.
Youth in the respite program participate in regular classroom or program
activities along with the other youth, Fink said.
“The new Child Development Center (CDC) has given us additional room
and, subsequently, spaces for children to support this program,” Fink
said. “Eligible youth in the Youth Program can participate in the
program on nonschool days, snow days or after-school days.”
Parents or guardians enrolling youth in the program are required to
bring a copy of their orders when they register.
As more people discover the benefits of the program, attendance and use
has been increasing, she said. Several families who learned about the
program in September during the Day for Kids event now are regular
“We don’t have any limits on the number of youth per family who can
participate,” Fink said. “Our only limit is the space we have
The new CDC facility also has allowed the CYSS program to better provide
services to its customers. Fink said there still is additional room in
the CDC for children in the 2-to-4 age range.
Fink said the new CDC facility also has made additional childcare spaces
available, and the program now can serve all the children who previously
were on a waiting list.
For more information about the respite care program, call Parents
Central Service at 608-388-8956. For general information about the CDC,