Child and Youth Programs

Regular Air Force: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet

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Air Force Child Development and Youth Programs support Airmen and Guardians in balancing the competing demands of parenting and military service, particularly challenging in today's environment of higher operations tempo, increased mobilization, and longer periods of time away from home. The Department of the Air Force is committed to serving these Airmen, Guardians, and their families by reaching out and assisting them through robust Child, Youth and Family programs, wherever the member resides.

Benefit Highlights

Department of the Air Force Child and Youth Programs provide developmental activities that promote the cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development of children/youth through programs and services. All children/youth are recognized for their differences and are provided activities that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, creativity, self-discipline, and resiliency while providing content learning for literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and technology. Child Development Center (CDC) and School Aged (SA) programs are accredited by a National Association. These programs are managed at the installation level by the Military and Family Readiness Center. Click here for your closest location.
children playing on a basketball court with chalk

 Child Care Programs:

Child Care is offered through CDC, Family Child Care (FCC) homes, and SA programs.

  • Family Child Care (FCC): Provide full-day, part-day and hourly child care services for children two weeks to 12 years of age in homes that are licensed on base or through affiliation off base. Expanded child care provides care for service members who work outside of normal working hours, and respite care for families of children with special needs.

  • School Age Care (SAC): Provides programs for children five to 12 years of age jointly with the base youth center. SAC offers care before and after school, on school holidays and summer camps.

Additional Child Care Programs:

  • Give Parents a Break (GPAB): Once a month the CDC opens to provide free child care to eligible parents experiencing unique stresses due to deployments, remote tours of duty, or extended hours. Families are referred to the program and given a certificate to participate through the Military and Family Readiness Center.

  • Child Care for Permanent Change of Station: Provides up to 20 hours of child care (per child) at no cost in AF licensed/affiliated FCC homes at/near active duty locations. The FCC Coordinator is the POC. Air Force and Space Force families with PCS orders are eligible for this service.

Youth Programs

  • Youth Programs (YP): Youth programs offer opportunities for positive youth development by supporting the skills, interests, qualities, and abilities of all youth. Individual programming varies to meet the needs of the installation. Youth five to 18 years of age are eligible. YP partners with national youth serving agencies to provide a wide range of programs and services for youth and staff, including: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, USDA/4-H and the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

  • Sports and Fitness: Offers opportunities for sports, fitness, health and nutrition, outdoor recreation, and motor skill development. Examples of programs offered are sports teams, dance, and martial arts classes but program offerings vary by installation.

  • Civil Air Patrol (CAP): The official auxiliary program of the U.S. Air Force. CAP is a year-round program for youth 12 to 18 years old. The programs focus is on: leadership training, aerospace education, fitness education and character education. Cadets attend weekly squadron meetings, events one Saturday a month and a week-long camp every summer where they experience flight firsthand in CAP aircraft.

Additional Information

Air Force Instructions 34-144: Child and Youth Programs

For more information, please visit the Central Programs Management System (CPMS):

For additional information on Child and Youth Programs, visit:

To request child care, visit Military Child Care (MCC):

For active duty military, including mobilized or deployed Reserve and Guard personnel, living in an area where no child care is offered or is unavailable at an installation due to high demand, use:

Parents’ Guide to the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program

National Guard Family Programs

Document Review Date: 17 April 2024