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    Idaho National Guard Opens Child Care Center

    Idaho Guard opens its first free childcare

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Joesph Morgan | The Idaho National Guard holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand...... read more read more



    Story by Crystal Farris 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Idaho National Guard

    Members of the Idaho National Guard held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of its first-ever child care center at Gowen Field.

    The Child and Youth Center is part of a program offering Idaho National Guardsmen with children ages 6 months to 12 years free child care assistance during drill weekends through the IDNG Drill Weekend Child Care program.

    The program is the first of its kind in the Idaho National Guard and aims to help retention efforts by easing the burden on Guardsmen to find and pay for child care while attending drill.

    “Providing child care for our Guardsmen on drill weekends has been a goal of mine for many years,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, commander and adjutant general of Idaho. “Thanks to the efforts of our amazing team in the J9 Service Member & Family Support Directorate, it has become a reality.  Hopefully, over time, we can expand these services to accommodate the entire Military Division work force.”

    Garshak, along with other members of the organization, including Lt. Col. Christian O’Leary, director of the J9, led efforts to develop the centralized on-base program in 2023 to improve support available to its service members.

    Idaho Army National Guardsman 1st Lt. Kelly Minium said she is thankful for the program and to the organization for providing the support.

    “Finding child care on the weekends is both difficult and expensive,” said Minium. “As a single mother with no family in the area, having access to free child care on drill weekend gives me the ability to continue serving in the Idaho National Guard, which further enables me to take care of my family.”

    1st Lt. Joshua Seward, State Family Program director, said the lack of affordable child care during drill weekends has been a problem in retaining service members within the organization for years.

    Parents can pay hundreds of dollars a weekend for child care assistance during drill weekends. Sometimes that amount may be more than they make for attending training.

    In January, the organization began offering child care assistance from a temporary facility on base while it worked to open its Child and Youth Center. Since then, it has provided assistance to hundreds of service members during drill weekends, saving them hundreds to thousands of dollars.

    Idaho Army National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Cindy Ceja has taken advantage of the program since it opened.

    “This program has truly been a lifeline for my family and me,” said Ceja. “Weekends used to be a constant struggle to find affordable and trustworthy care for my young daughters, causing immense stress. I even contemplated leaving the Guard as my contract came to an end. This program arrived just in time, alleviating those worries.”

    Now with its new center open, the program offers even more space with two facilities and four separate rooms that are outfitted with new furniture, toys, games, cribs and more to create fun and safe environments for education and entertainment.

    With future funding initiatives, the organization is hopeful to expand the program to serve members who drill in different regions across Idaho.



    Date Taken: 06.10.2024
    Date Posted: 06.10.2024 11:05
    Story ID: 473494
    Location: BOISE, IDAHO, US

    Web Views: 197
    Downloads: 0