December 17, 2019

Senate Passes Hirono Measure to Expand Direct Hire Authority for Childcare Workers on Military Bases

Provision included in FY 2020 NDAA Would Significantly Reduce the Length of Time Required to Hire Qualified Childcare Providers Serving Military Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation authored by Senator Hirono that would significantly reduce the lengthy hiring process for qualified childcare providers on military installations by expanding direct hire authority. This provision was included in the Conference Report of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the Senate on an 86-8 vote.

“Every day, we ask our service members to give 100 percent focus to their tasks and the mission of securing our nation and communities. It is unacceptable for any service member to report for duty in the morning with a question in their mind about whether their children will be safely cared for in their absence,” Senator Hirono said. “Providing the Department with direct hire authority for childcare providers will help to expand access to quality care, provide military families with necessary peace of mind, and hopefully prevent future tragedies like the one at Aliamanu Military Reservation.”

Senator Hirono’s legislation addresses how the excessive length of time it takes to hire new, qualified personnel limits the number of military families able to receive services like childcare. It also reflects concerns about how the lengthy hiring process can discourage qualified childcare providers from applying to work in military Child Development Centers.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in March, following the news of the death of an infant at an unlicensed home daycare at the Aliamanu Military Reservation, Senator Hirono asked then-Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark Esper, about improving childcare capacity for military families in Hawaii. Secretary Esper responded that ensuring access to safe, affordable childcare for military families is particularly challenging in Hawaii, and that decreasing the delay in the hiring process is part of the solution.

The National Military Family Association supported Senator Hirono’s provision.

“The National Military Family Association is grateful to Senator Hirono for recognizing the need for direct hire authority,” Nicole Russell, Deputy Director of Government Relations for the National Military Family Association, said. “We support any measures that streamline the hiring process for essential family services on military installations."