DAF expanding childcare subletting app to all child development centers

  • Published
  • By Shannon Carabajal
  • Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

An app that makes it easier to sublet short-term childcare slots will soon be available at all Department of the Air Force-run child development centers.

Now available at 24 installations, Kinderspot helps Department of Defense families on Air and Space Force bases offer or find weeklong blocks of time for rent at the CDC. With a goal of reaching all remaining DAF CDCs by July 2024, Kinderspot will launch at several new installations each month, said Jennifer Penafiel, Air Force Services Center child development and youth programs specialist.

By centralizing and streamlining the subletting process, Kinderspot helps CDCs maximize schedule availability and offers families more flexibility to plan for their childcare needs, Penafiel said. The app, currently supporting preschool age and younger children, enables families already enrolled at a DAF CDC to offer their weeklong blocks of time to other families, receiving a credit to their account when another family rents their spot.

“Families are very excited there is a program that allows them to temporarily rent a childcare space,” said Derrick Ross, CDC lead administration clerk at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. “The process is not long or complicated and families know exactly which classroom they will be assigned to.”

Families without a child currently enrolled at a CDC must complete paperwork to become a verified renter at their CDC before booking available weeks through the app. Rental fees are paid directly to the CDC at the renter’s rate, based on the family’s total family income.

“Kinderspot is so user friendly and gives me peace of mind to know my spot is being utilized when we are out of town for family vacations,” said Maj. Jessie James, Peterson SFB, Colorado. “I love that I’m saving money and another family is receiving care at their rate. It’s a win-win.”

With more than 6,200 users as of November, the app has already facilitated the rental of nearly 3,700 short-term child care spots.

“As soon as my base adopted Kinderspot, I used the app and was able to sublet my child's CDC spot for a week,” said Lt. Col. Kelly Atkinson, who is stationed at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado. “The program was easy to use, clear and intuitive. Best of all, Kinderspot not only helped my family save on childcare costs but also ensured another military family had access to childcare for that week. I can't say enough about how much I appreciate this service and the innovative leaders who filled this need by creating this program.”

The brainchild of Maj. Jacque Vasta, air officer commanding for Cadet Squadron 35 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, Kinderspot was the top idea at the 2020 Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Innovation Rodeo. AFIMSC initially awarded the project $333,000 and secured additional funding for development through a price-matching Small Business Innovation Research contract.

To design a helpful tool for military families, the AFIMSC Ventures innovation office partnered with Oddball, a digital services team specializing in transforming government software. It also worked closely with AFSVC to shape the app and processes to align with child and youth program priorities and efforts. AFIMSC and AFSVC began testing the app in 2021. Since then, developers have improved the app’s security and functionality and added a few new features, including push and wait-list notifications.

“With today’s technology, everyone utilizes a mobile device for everyday life and family management. Adding the new push and wait-list notification options provides installations, managers and families the convenience of subletting their childcare spot with ease,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shawanda Summers, AFSVC Community Services senior enlisted leader.

For Vasta, seeing Kinderspot transform from a small concept she developed in her living room into a live mobile app available for military families across the globe has been exciting.

“The journey has been an invaluable source of learning and growth for me and would not have been possible without the tremendous support of AFIMSC, AFSVC Child and Youth Programs and the families who've warmly embraced Kinderspot," she said. "The future is bright with care we can share!"

Kinderspot is available for both Apple and Android devices. Visit here for more information.