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No, Trump is Not Preventing Childcare for Military Families

No, Trump is Not Preventing Childcare for Military Families

Fake news that went viral

A “leaked” memo which has been circulating in news stories and on social media claims that Trump’s federal hiring freeze is preventing military families from getting childcare.

The memo, while legitimate, was wrong. That didn’t matter though, it was pounced on by Trump opponents and offered as proof of what a horrible person Trump must be.

Here’s a report released Wednesday by The Hill:

Trump’s federal hiring freeze forces two Army bases to close child care programs

President Trump’s federal hiring freeze has forced two major Army bases to shutter some child care programs.

Military families with children who attend child development center (CDC) programs at Fort Knox in Kentucky and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany were notified last week about the suspension of the program and that no new families would be enrolled.

Families at the Fort Knox base were notified Feb. 17 of the closure 10 days later.

“Effective immediately, no new children will be enrolled in the CDC,” read a letter signed by the Fort Knox garrison commander, according to “Also, effective 27 February 2017, the CDC will no longer accommodate childcare for our hourly care and part day families until further notice.”

Here’s an image of the letter:

Just three weeks ago, The Hill reported that the Pentagon made an exception which specifically mentions childcare workers in the military. Emphasis is mine:

Pentagon moves to exempt some civilians from hiring freeze

According to the memo, written by acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, Mattis has directed the service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon’s inspector general, the deputy chief management officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense agencies and Defense Department field activities to decide which specific jobs to exempt from three overarching categories.

The first category is 16 groups identified by Mattis as necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities. The groups include positions directly supporting overseas missions, cybersecurity positions, jobs providing childcare for military personnel, positions involved in nuclear reactor and weapons safety, and jobs in shipyards and depots directly involved in inventory management and equipment maintenance. points out that any closure of childcare centers is happening because it takes so long to hire people for these positions:

Some Child Care Still on Hold Despite Hiring Freeze Waiver

Officials at two Army bases still plan to temporarily suspend some day care programs despite permission from the Defense Department to hire workers because they cannot fill the positions fast enough to avoid the shutdowns, they said.

“Hiring child care professionals is a multistep process to perform the necessary background, safety and health checks required for individuals taking care of our community’s children,” Jacob Corbin, a spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, said in an email.

Bill O’Reilly addressed this issue last night with an update from Shannon Bream of FOX News. Skip to the 15:33 mark to see the segment:


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2nd Ammendment Mother | February 24, 2017 at 1:38 pm

The turnover rates for the CYS Programs are crazy high. I used to do some of the training for new staff and about 50% wouldn’t even finish their training to start their jobs before they were already gone.

I don’t understand what’s fake here. As your link’s note, they’re closing down the part-day programs to focus on the full-day programs because the hiring freeze-created reductions in CYS support staff and added burden of individual hire justifications, in light of the long-running problem with high turnover in CYS childcare staff, would make it impossible to support the hiring for both programs. That sounds exactly like they’re closing the part-day program because of the hiring freeze to me.

    Since the hiring freeze never applied to these jobs it is impossible for the hiring freeze to have caused shortage of workers. Obviously other factors caused the shortage of workers. It is simple to understand for those who want to understand. The hiring freeze also had nothing to do with one CYS program being favored over another.

      Awing1 in reply to garybritt. | February 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      First, the hiring freeze does apply to these jobs, it adds administrative burden to them, since each individual hire decision must be distinctly justified on a case-by-case basis.

      But more to the point, you didn’t even try to argue why impacts to the administrative staff, which are directly affected by the hiring freeze, wouldn’t trickle down to the ability to hire CYS childcare staff.

        No it doesn’t add any administrative burden and you aren’t seriously going to argue that government administration workers were already operating at 100 capacity and productivity prior to hiring freeze are you? Seriously?

          gattison in reply to garybritt. | February 24, 2017 at 9:02 pm

          Due to a lot of staff being spouses of military members turnover is greater especially after the holidays and in the summer months. Most staff in Europe operate close to full staff with turnover being around the times mentioned. I can speak for Europe being that I have worked there as a soldier and a civilian. The positions that are exempt are that of the CYS and CDC worker but the ones that are not, the ones tasked with hiring and conducting certain aspects of those background checks are under the freeze. The EXORD was signed during one of the turnover periods therefore creating a void. This is true for the military healthcare field as well, which I currently work. I do agree that some civilian jobs are duplicated however to abruptly halt hiring only creates a shortage in areas where turnover is high, i.e. the CYS and CDC areas as well as the healthcare field. For instance, a clinic of 4 mental health providers for a population of 3500 potential patients, because of the hiring freeze you are unable to hire providers and the access to care is waiting for an appointment for at least 2-4 weeks. Plus the background checks and mental status evals, and security clearances still have to be conducted for those individuals that want to work at the CDC and CYS. So yes the hiring freeze does actually affect childcare no matter if it is directly or indirectly. It makes it a little difficult to exempt one and expect another agency to continue working as if it will not affect it as well. There needs to be overbite but a working plan should have been imposed first.

        Mac45 in reply to Awing1. | February 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm

        The order does not lay off any existing administration workers. All it does is stop the hiring of additional civilian workers. So, unless the entire civilian administrative staff quit, it should not affect the employment vetting at all. Also, if the people applying for the current unfilled daycare positions are military dependents, this speeds up the process significantly. So, if there is a staffing problem, then it is one that the G1 should have seen coming and planned accordingly to handle efficiently.

        Now, I stand, with mouth agape, at the inefficiency of today’s Army, with regard to daily operations. But, I know from experience just how quickly the Army can accomplish any chore that it wishes to expedite. Any slowdown in this area is either because the CO does not place a very high priority on this or the staffing problems are a lot more widespread than simply the daycare program.

    Walker Evans in reply to Awing1. | February 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    What’s fake here certainly appears to be the entire letter. The
    Twitter post containing the supposed letter has a date/time of 3:12 pm 21 February, which would be 12:12 AM on the 22nd in Wiesbaden IF the Tweet was posted from the far western U.S.; ie, from a location in Pacific Standard Time. If the Tweet came from somewhere in Eastern Standard Time Wiesbaden time would be 9:12 pm 21 February. In either case it is extremely unlikely that anyone in Germany typed/released that letter at either time.

    A typo in the letter’s date? Thinly possible, but the CO’s I have served under wouldn’t let one with this great an impact out the door with any typos. The letter and my gut feeling both say this is more “fake news”.

buckeyeminuteman | February 24, 2017 at 2:25 pm

The services literally cut tens of thousands from their active duty ranks during Obama’s Administration and hardly anybody cared. Trump freezes hiring federal civilians and everybody loses their minds!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the job of the military is to kill people and break things. Watching the kids of our troops (albeit for a price corresponding to your rank) is a very nice thing they do. If I had had my kids when I was active I probably would have used the CDC. But in fiscally tough times when we have an overbloated government, you’ve got to make some sacrifices.

    The job of the military is self-defense while limiting collateral damage.

    The job of the abortion industry is to kill people, and the job of Planned Parenthood’s Mengele division is to cannibalize their remains (for profit).

      buckeyeminuteman in reply to n.n. | February 24, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Self defense is applied in two ways. First, the military’s very presence in an area acts as a deterrent. The fact that our nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, Marine Expeditionary Units and bomber aircraft exist, no matter where at in the world, can act as a deterrent. Second, when deterrence fails the military can reach out and touch somebody or something from anywhere in the world. The kinetic effect of that is killing people and breaking things. Collateral damage is typically avoided where possible, but avoiding collateral damage is not the purpose of the military.

      Old0311 in reply to n.n. | February 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Funny, I thought the job of the military was to kill the enemy. Other than that it’s just a backpacking experience. Evidently, we must have been doing it wrong in ’68.

    Walker Evans in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | February 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    According to the training given at the senior enlisted and officer schools, the job of the military is the application of controlled violence. Civilians supply the control, deciding where, when, and how much is violence required to achieve the (political) objective; the military then decides how that level of violence is best delivered. This applies even to so-called ‘unrestricted’ warfare as in WWII.

    This works quite well unless the civilians decide to control both decisions, leading to absurd levels of micromanagement; this can lead to unfortunate consequences up to and including dead military members as sadly happened much too often in Vietnam.

The Media:
Lie to millions
Apologize to dozens
Claim neutrality.

Here they go again.

The FAKE part of this is the claim that the hiring freeze caused the suspension of these programs. Childcare workers are unaffected by the hiring freeze. Lt. Col. Fish; CO USAG Wesbaden; would be expected to know this. Therefor his memo is either based upon misinformation given to him by subordinates or other commands or is simply a way to CYA for suspending the programs.

I would have to agree that CYS and CDC have had an issue with their turn over rate; however the bottom line is the hiring freeze does affect the hiring of CYS and CDC workers due in part because other areas in the hiring process are affected. Secondly, just because a position is exempt doesn’t mean that it gets a free pass, what it means is the DoD or installation still has to make justification as to why the position is to be filled. Therefore giving the approval authority the power to say we are not going to fill the position despite it being on the exemption list. So with that said, YES the hiring freeze does play a huge role in positions being filled be it directly or indirectly. It actually affects other areas of along the line leading to hiring, regardless of people not wanting to work in the industry. Plus a lot of the CYS and CDC jobs are Non-Appropriated Fund positions which are fall under the hiring freeze.

if you read the fine print, etc, the delay in hiring staff is in background checks, which take forever with Uncle Sam.

toss in the likely factor that many staffers are likely mil spouses, who transfer with their Soldier when they PCS, and you have a constant turnover of employees.

I found the following on the Wiesbaden Army Garrison website:

“Update on Part-Time Child Care closures:

U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden has received approved exemptions to allow hiring of some child care providers at our Child and Youth Services facilities.

The garrison has already begun the hiring process for the positions. Hiring and training child care providers can be a lengthy process. Each child care provider requires numerous background, safety and health checks to ensure they are the right person to take care of our community’s children. Three providers were already through the process prior to the Hiring Freeze, and we plan to have them on board and beginning their training next week.

The planned closure of Strong Beginnings, Part-Time Toddler Care and Part-Time Preschool will still occur on March 1. However, CYS plans to reopen Strong Beginnings April 3. No date is currently available for the reopening of Part-Time Toddler Care and Part-Time Preschool at this time. Once more information is available, we will share with the community.”

So, it looks like the letter is real.

Go to and you can find this in the “Connect” news feed on the bottom of the webpage on the right.