Breaking Down Child Care Barriers, One Family at a Time

August 1, 2017


A gift from heaven.

That’s how U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Christine Carter of Dayton describes having a child care provider in place to care for her special needs son and give respite to her family.

“It’s so hard to find someone who you can trust to watch your special needs child,” says Christine. That person not only needs to be a responsible caregiver but must also have the necessary skills to meet a child’s medical and/or emotional needs on an ongoing basis.

Once that right person is found there is a bond that forms that’s “indescribable,” says Christine, a single mother of three. An East Coast native, she is stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and has a very limited local support system.

That’s where 4C comes in. Miami Valley staff administer the Air Force’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) that connects military families and their children with special needs to trained, screened respite care providers. For Christine, that person is Diane.

“Diane has become a member of our family,” Christine says. “When she rings the doorbell my kids race to open the door and they greet her with hugs and smiles. I have all the faith in the world in her abilities to love and care for my son and all my children.”

Without 4C, Christine says, “parents like me would be at their wits end. We need help with things as complex as going to the doctor or having a hospital stay and as ‘simple’ as going to the grocery store. Without 4C’s resources, I don’t know what I’d do.”

In addition to EFMP, 4C provides families with free child care referral services, parenting programs and a wealth of information about early education and child development.

“With 4C’s help, I know have a support system in place and it’s made me and my family more secure and happier,” Christine says. “We are so very grateful.”

Written for 4C for Children's 2016 Annual Report. Read the full report.