Department of Defense Policies on Accommodating Children with Special Needs in Child Care Programs

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DOD officials stated that their policy is to accommodate children with special needs unless those accommodations fundamentally alter the nature of the program. However, DOD does not centrally collect or maintain data on accommodation decisions; instead they are kept at the installation level. Two services--Army and Air Force--have begun or plan to collect specific data at the service level to monitor and track services to children with special needs across their installations by 2013. Further, the services have different definitions of special needs, although officials told us DOD ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 16, 2013.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DOD officials stated that their policy is to accommodate children with special needs unless those accommodations fundamentally alter the nature of the program. However, DOD does not centrally collect or maintain data on accommodation decisions; instead they are kept at the installation level. Two services--Army and Air Force--have begun or plan to collect specific data at the service level to monitor and track services to children with special needs across their installations by 2013. Further, the services have different definitions of special needs, although officials told us DOD is working on a standard definition. According to OSD officials, each service has established an assessment process to determine how to accommodate children with special needs in DOD's child care programs. This assessment process is the primary means through which parents can address concerns related to finding appropriate child care for their children with special needs, as well as to help identify support and outreach programs for the family. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 created the Office of Special Needs, which is responsible for enhancing and improving support for families of children with special needs. Although DOD officials stated that this office does not have an oversight role or enforcement authority over DOD child care, the Office of Special Needs and OSD have coordinated on some activities to better serve the DOD population of children with special needs. Additionally, DOD contracts with Kids Included Together to support the work of its child care staff in accommodating children with special needs and offers other services to help child care staff and parents deal with behavioral problems and other issues. Representatives of national disability organizations said that military parents of children with special needs face challenges accessing DOD child care that go beyond those faced by nonmilitary parents of children with special needs in accessing private child care. For example, in some cases military families never make it to the top of waiting lists for local special needs services due to frequent moves."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 16, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Department of Defense Policies on Accommodating Children with Special Needs in Child Care Programs, text, January 16, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302754/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.