Thousands of Air Force families are still waiting for child care, according to an Air Force report that was obtained by Federal News Network. Capacity was limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, and demand is increasing as parents return to their worksites.

As of February, more than 5,000 children were waiting for child care, with an average wait time of 151 days, the report said.

It’s an issue lawmakers have brought up ahead of the President’s budget request.

“It’s just incredibly disrespectful of your service members – and I think this is the case across the board, but it is particularly pronounced in the Air Force – that your requests have not included child care development centers,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the House defense appropriations subcommittee chair, told Air Force leaders at a recent hearing. “If it’s not in the plans for the president’s budget… I really suggest that you go back to the drawing board and push to make sure that it is.”

Air Force Chief Master Sergeant JoAnne Bass agreed, saying at the same hearing that “we have got to do better” and that it “is a huge priority for us.”

Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes

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