Air Force testing childcare sublet app, starting at Malmstrom

Malmstrom Air Force Base is set to pilot a mobile app for subletting short-term slots at military child development centers on June 28.

The app, called Kinderspot, is being tested by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and is designed to help military families on Air Force installations sublet child care spots at their home station or find spots at locations they’re visiting temporarily, according to an Air Force release.

“The concept is similar to what you would use for Airbnb, but instead of subleasing your house or apartment, you’re subleasing your child’s spot at the CDC,” Maj. Jacque Vasta, Air Force Personnel Center headquarters section commander and app originator, said in a release.

In the pilot test at Malmstrom, parents can download the app to create an account and begin offering or renting child care spots, starting on a weekly basis.

After launching at Malmstrom, the app will roll out to seven additional test bases:

  • Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
  • MacDill AFB, Florida
  • Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington DC
  • Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
  • Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado
  • Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado
  • Luke AFB, Arizona

Vasta came up with the idea for the app several years ago after unsuccessful attempts to sublease child care spots at her local CDC since the process wasn’t standardized and users were using social media to find spots.

“I vented on Facebook and soon learned that many other families using the CDCs had the same problem,” she said in a release.

Vasta pitched the app idea at the 2020 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo where she earned first place and $333,000 for the app. The project then secured another $1 million for development through a price-matching Small Business Innovation Research contract, according to the Air Force.

To design a tool that would benefit military families, the AFIMSC Ventures innovation office partnered with Oddball, a digital services team specializing in transforming government software, and worked closely with the Air Force Services Center to shape the app and processes to align with other child and youth program priorities and efforts.

Emilie Miller, an innovation program analyst with AFIMSC Ventures, said in a release that the staff are being trained to manage the app’s web portal and with centralized management, families won’t have to pay more than they normally would for childcare.

“The best part about the app is that the family who leases their spot will not have to pay for the time the spot is sublet, and the family who sublets the spot will pay according to the standardized military child care cost chart, which is based on total family income,” Vasta said in a release.

For example, a junior enlisted Airman subletting a spot from a senior NCO or officer would pay the rate based on their rank and family income, not the rate for a senior NCO or officer.

AFIMSC Ventures is working on an Air Force-wide rollout plan that will follow the initial pilot phase, Miller said.

Kinderspot is available for both Apple and Android devices. For more information, visit http://carewecanshare.com/.