It doesn’t matter what your job is, if you have young children, you need a way to take care of them when you are at work. In 21st century America, where many families consist of a single parent or two working parents, a daycare center is often the answer.
Things are no different in the military, where members of the armed forces who aren’t deployed to a war zone get up and go to work every day, dropping their young children off at daycare on their way. But for soldiers stationed at two large Army bases, daycare has become more of a challenge thanks to our Ochre Emperor Donald J. Trump.
Among the executive orders issued by His Orangeness was one instituting a federal hiring freeze for civilian positions to reduce the size of the federal workforce through attrition. But as usual with blanket declarations of that sort, the law of unintended consequences was fully in effect, and now soldiers at Fort Knox, Kentucky and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden are being left without child care services.
Fort Knox garrison commander Col. Stephen Aiton informed his soldiers in a letter which states in part:
Effective immediately, no new children will be enrolled in the CDC (child development center). Also, effective 27 February 2017, the CDC will no longer accommodate childcare for our hourly care and part day families until further notice.
Aiton’s letter goes on to explain:
We are prevented from bringing new caregivers on board but are still having our usual staff turnover and illnesses, which creates challenges to maintaining ratios and providing quality childcare.
Soldiers in Germany were given similar notice. “The closure is a result of staff shortage due to the federal hiring freeze,” Col. Todd Fish wrote.
A Defense Department memo excuses child care worker positions from the hiring freeze, but base commanders are still required to get permission from the Army secretary before filling positions. That adds another layer to an already sluggish process that includes extensive background checks of applicants.
As of January 17 the Army child care system, which has some 12,000 positions, already had over 2,000 vacancies, according to Military.com. There is also a good deal of turnover. So Trump’s order has put an even greater burden on a system that was already struggling to keep up with staffing needs.
This illustrates the danger of attacking the complex federal budget with a meat cleaver rather than a scalpel. Trump may not be a typical Republican, but on this matter he is just like the rest. Instead of doing something like asking agency heads to look for ways to save money, Trump simply issued an edict and let the chips fall where they may.
Now the people charged with the defense of Americans and American interests have another task added to their already full plates — secure a new way to have their children taken care of while they work in defense of the nation.
Featured image via our friends at Wonkette