Some U.S. soldiers serving overseas have been told that they are losing their child care.
A letter sent Wednesday to servicemen and women at Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany said all part-day preschool and day-care programs would close. The letter from the base’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Todd Fish, said: “This closure is a result of staff shortage due to the federal hiring freeze.”
“President Trump should be embarrassed about the way his actions are impacting our men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
A government-wide hiring freeze was one of Trump’s first actions in office. There are supposed to be exemptions for critical positions. In a Feb. 1 memo, the Pentagon singled out child care for military personnel as being eligible for exemptions.
Kelly Hruska of the National Military Family Association said parents at Fort Knox received a similar letter.
“No parent wants to worry about their child,” Hruska said. “And so this just adds additional stress.” An Army spokesman said that after those letters were sent to service members, the Pentagon approved exemptions for child-care workers at the bases.
“With those approved exemptions, hiring actions to fill those child care vacancies can begin,” said Nate Allen, an Army spokesman.
Allen said his office has not heard of any other bases or installations that have cut or eliminated child-care services because of the hiring freeze.