COLUMBUS, Ohio –
After more than 10 months of preparation, the Child Development Center (CDC) on Defense Supply Center Columbus reopened Feb. 27 as a fully in-sourced Department of Defense operation.
Defense Logistics Agency’s Installation Support Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Program will now manage the CDC. The childcare facility previously operated through a partnership with Bright Horizons Family Solutions.
Parents should expect to see only minor differences in the day-to-day operations of the facility, as most changes are taking place behind the scenes. Caregivers and management who were contract employees prior to the transition had the opportunity to apply to remain on staff as government Non-Appropriated Fund DoD civilians.
Retention rates were nearly unanimous, said DSCC MWR Chief Brandon Doherty. He said the 86 associates who make up administrative, teaching, and support staff are about 98 percent the same as before the transition, and parents and children will continue to see familiar faces each day at the CDC.
“Today marks a huge milestone for the Child Development Center,” Doherty said. “Our new organizational structure will save the government money while providing the same level of excellent childcare that parents expect.
“We’ll be using the Creative Curriculum teaching program now, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ in early childhood education. It’s the same system used by the Army, and we’ll adhere to the same regulatory guidance they use.”
The DSCC location is the first CDC on a DLA installation in recent years to make the transition from a contract-managed childcare facility to one that is fully in-sourced. DLA Installation Director Denise Miller said this model allows for consistency across the Agency and will ultimately lead to substantial cost savings.
“Our goal is to maintain transparency for the parents and families as we make these changes,” Miller said. “This will save taxpayer money, but more importantly this allowed us to evaluate how we could provide the best child care in the most efficient ways possible.”
Throughout the transition process, installation support personnel held several informational parent update meetings, posted answers to frequently asked questions online, distributed brochures and responded to comments and concerns of both staff and parents, said Dan Bell, DSCC site director.
The center will also continue to have a Parent Advisory Board, which allows parents to remain actively involved in their child's care and education.
On the day of the reopening, “Welcome Home” balloons greeted parents and children who entered the CDC lobby. Some signage and furniture had changed, but the overall aesthetics remained the same.
Doherty said parents can expect some changes in the sign in and drop off process as the CDC implements a key fob identification system, as well as new online payment options. He said these improvements will take effect soon.
Brittany Brice, a training and curriculum specialist, said employees underwent additional training to prepare for the new curriculum, which includes new training materials and offers online assessment tools.
“There was a two-day intensive training program to prepare us,” Brice said. “We’d used components of Creative Curriculum before, but now we’re using the full program and we have new online resources to help us.”
Child Development Centers at DLA locations in Richmond and Ft. Belvoir, Va. will transition from contractor-operated programs to in-sourced programs later this year.