Hawaii death leads to Fort Bragg review of child care regulation

Fort Bragg officials are reviewing an Army regulation that limits the number of hours per week that someone can keep a child in their home.

Unauthorized child care was discussed at a town hall meeting last month. The meeting was broadcast on Fort Bragg’s Facebook page.

The regulation says child care cannot be provided for unrelated children more than 10 hours a week, according to Christy Morrisey, Fort Bragg’s child and youth services administrator.

“Most people are surprised by that,” she said.

Ray Lacey, director of family and morale, welfare, and recreation for the post, said the issue was brought up because of a death in Hawaii.

A Navy wife at the Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii was charged with manslaughter after a 7-month-old baby she was watching died in February, according to media reports.

Lacey said the regulation has been in place.

“This is not new,” he said. “We’re just bringing it to you because it’s in the news.”

Col. Phillip Sounia, the post’s garrison commander, said he asked that the issue be discussed at the town hall meeting. He said he wants Fort Bragg to have a common sense policy.

“We can do things right,” he said. “We also can do the right things.”

Sounia said Fort Bragg officials will discuss the regulation.

Morrisey said that if Fort Bragg officials receive a complaint about unauthorized child care, they will visit the home within two working days. If a preliminary investigation confirms the complaint, the person will be given notice that they need to be certified to provide child care, she said. A report is sent to the garrison commander.

“That will usually take care of the issue,” she said.

Certification allows inspections of the child care location, Morrisey said. Proper child care is important for the health and development of the child, she said.

Some residents questioned the wisdom of the regulation. One suggested that it was criminalizing successful, strong spouse behavior because childhood friends spend a lot of time with each other

Morrisey said Army officials need to look at what is feasible and what is realistic.

“That’s our goal,” she said.

Sounia said he doesn’t want people doing legal things in an illegal manner. He said Fort Bragg officials might need to let Army officials know if there’s a better policy.

“We want to make sure we’re drafting rules that make sense,” he said.