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Moving? Child and Youth Services can help smooth the way

By making PCS plans early and contacting the Parent Central Services, moving can be less stressful and challenging

Marilyn Rivera, a third grader with C.C. Pinckney Elementary School, uses hand sanitizers as she enters the school Jan. 25. for the first day of face-to-face teaching since March 2020. Photo by Josephine Carlson

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As summer winds down and the upcoming school year approaches, military families are still on the move, Permanent Change of Station move that is.

According to Jacqueline Flowers, traffic manager for the Fort Jackson transportation office, primary and peak PCS season runs from May 15 until Labor Day where thousands of soldiers and military families PCS globally.

During the season, soldiers and military families can be faced with dozens of challenges. For families with children, childcare and transferring records can be daunting.

Thanks to the Department of Defense's website, Child and Youth Services can help smooth the way by offering a variety of services before, during and after a PCS move.

"Child and Youth Services can help prepare a PCS-ing family for childcare at their next duty station," said Sunny Bolton, Fort Jackson's CYS coordinator. "As soon as the service member gets orders, going to is how they would start the process for seeking childcare at the new duty station."

By creating a simple and secure profile on the website, parents can view all the childcare and CYS programs available at their next duty station. Parents can also place their children on a waiting list even before arrival.

"All families put themselves on the wait list, so families are encouraged to put their children on the CYS waitlist as soon as they get orders," Bolton said. "Also, families can reach out to the new installation for Youth Sponsorship opportunities for incoming school age and youth (children)."

Youth Sponsorship is a program where new school age students are teamed up with another student of similar age to help show them the "ropes" upon arrival and help pave the way for new friendships.

Seasoned military families who have moved with their children in the past understand that children physicals and sports physicals are a must to enroll their children into a new school, sports programs and childcare. Bolton explained how Parent Central Services "export" childcare files to the gaining installation to help save parents valuable time during registration.

"Always hand carry shot records, health or sports physicals, and any other documents related to a child's special needs," Bolton said. "CYS will work with the family in regard to medical requirements but having the information handy will help speed up the process."

While working with Parent Central Services and CYS can help prepare and pave the way to a smooth transition at the gaining installation, the new installation's facilities can also assist during the move. CYS offers hourly childcare when it's time for household goods to be packed or unpacked when military families arrive to the new installation.

"Hourly care can help when families are packing, however not all CYS programs offer hourly care," Bolton said. "Families can reach out to Parent Central Services for the CYS babysitter referral list."

Parents can see if their next duty station offers hourly childcare using the website.

By making PCS plans early and contacting the Parent Central Services and transportation office, moving can be less stressful and challenging.

According to Flowers, being "flexible and understanding" while planning a PCS move will help eliminate frustrations and challenges.

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