Are Military Childcare Workers Abusing Your Kids?

kids with crafts

When my bossman first called me Wednesday night to tell me about the childcare workers on Fort Meyer who had been fired and accused of child abuse, my first reaction was a mixed bag of “that’s an isolated incident,” and “the Pentagon is likely overreacting — I’m sure this type of thing happens more than they know. I’m sure people get fired after parents complain all the time.”

But then I read the stories. The abuse, according to this story, was caught on tape and brought to light when parents complained. Several workers were seen kneeing, pinching, dropping, dragging and otherwise roughly handling several toddlers. Those workers were fired. The managers above them were also fired.

Basically, they were treating children in ways that were unlikely to cause serious injury but very likely to make me never want to take my kid within 100 feet of a CDC ever again.

This incident happened a few months ago — but when Secretary of Defense Panetta found out about it on Tuesday he was, according to this story, “enraged.” He ordered a worldwide review of the hiring practices at military childcare facilities. Why? Because a short Army investigation at Meyer reveleaed the following shocking fact:

Thirty-one — 31! — of the 130 CDC employees had criminal records, according to a source. From the story “the charges included 14 for assault, six for drug use, and two for sexual assault in the fourth degree – a misdemeanor that could involve public exposure. The official was at a loss to explain how the 31 got through the Army’s vetting process for employment.”

Let me make something extraordinarily clear right now — I have regularly used Army hourly care centers since my son was born almost four years ago. I  have left him at hourly centers on Fort Lewis and Fort Benning on a weekly basis. Both of my children are often left at the Fort Campbell SFAC hourly center and I have ZERO complaints. In fact, I downright love those people. I have never personally witnessed or even suspected abuse from these fabulous caretakers, particularly at the SFAC center. I would trust those ladies with my babies any day.

That being said, such a shocking fact obviously made Panetta wonder the same thing I wonder — and the same thing you are likely wondering — where else is this true? Have some of the childcare workers at my base daycares or hourly centers been convicted for sexual assault?

When it comes to the care of our children we cannot be too careful. How will you be changing your childcare habits as a result of this scandal. If you work in a CDC (and I know many of our readers have or do) does this story surprise you?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Kim Collins
  • Janet

    I am not shocked at all because we’ve had the most horrible experience at one of the CDC’s and one of the Youth Centers in Beaufort, SC.

  • Brandy
  • Rquick

    I’m not shocked about the treatment really you see that pop up all the time but so many people with records? 31 people flew under the radar and managed to get hired? Thats pure negligence IMO!

  • Jean Fuller

    As a former director, I can testify the stress level is always very very high. Some children with VERY difficult behaviors, poorly trained caregivers, toxic parents, a host of nonsensical regulations, and no “go-to” for help and answers. Most of the caregivers in my charge were very compassionate and hard working, but the burnout and turnover levels were extremely high. Like over 200% per year. Which means nearly all the caregivers have little experience and less training. Certainly not the level of care these children deserve.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Jean — would you mind emailing me via the contact us button on the top of the page?

  • Leonia

    I too am a former Assisant director ,And I have to disagree with Jean Fuller . I have been a military spouse for over 30 years and I started out has a homecare provider in 1986 and we had to be trained then and working toward an CDA. finally getting my degree in early childhood Ed . All who worked in any of the centers I worked, had to have a CDA or more. The only times we had problems is when cilivans where hired and did not want to go by the CDC rules and regulations.I am so sorry this happened to our children .We take an oath to protect all children and it’s a shame the director did not try harder to do this.

  • Raquel
  • jay walls

    No child care centers needed, if ALL women of child bearing age, were stay at home Moms, and NOT SERVING in the military. Especially in combat roles. Make sense??? I think so.