Air Force Library

Give Parents a Break

We all know that military life can be stressful, and sometimes you just need a break!

One Saturday a month, FSS offers four hours of FREE childcare through our Give Parents a Break program. Qualifying is easier than you think! Read below to find out how you can sign up – and take a well-deserved break.


Most likely – yes!

Give Parents a Break is designed to support our military families who are experiencing the stress of military life. Your first thought is probably deployed affected families – and of course, if your family is being affected by a deployment, this program is for you – however, this program is not exclusive to deployed affected families. Give Parents a Break is open to any active duty family experiencing stress; whether that stress is from a big life event like a new baby, military challenges like PCS or extended TDYs, or it’s just plain stress! We’re not here to measure how stressed we think you “should” be about whatever is going on in your life – we’re just here to help.


Step 1: Contact Us

Our CDC or Youth Center are your one-stop-shop to get registered for this program! Call or stop by at the appropriate center below, and our CYP staff will be happy to assist you.

For children ages 6 weeks – 5 (not in school):

 Contact the Child Development Center
1314 LeMay Blvd, Ellsworth AFB

For 5 year olds (in school) – 12 year olds:

 Contact the Youth Center
1679 Ellsworth St, Ellsworth AFB

If you have multiple children that don’t fit into the same age group – don’t worry! Contact either facility and we can get all of your children signed up at the same time.

If you are an existing client of the Ellsworth Military & Family Readiness Center, and one of their staff is aware of your stress, they can also provide you a referral certificate to take to the CDC or Youth Center to sign up. If you happen to be in the Rushmore Center and this is more convenient for you, just stop by the M&FRC and they will be happy to assist!

Step 2: Register with Child & Youth Programs

If your children are currently enrolled with any of our Child and Youth programs, you can skip this step!

If your children are not enrolled at the Youth Center or CDC, we’ll just need a few things from you, including your child’s shot records. When you sign up, our CYP staff will walk you through the process to register with them, so that you can safely and legally drop your kids off for Give Parents a Break.

If you are claiming a deployment as your reason for utilizing this program, CYP may need to take a quick look at a copy of your orders to verify.

You do not need to tell us what your stressors are when you sign up. If you would prefer not to tell our CYP staff what’s going on in your life, you do not have to! Your registration can be handled in whatever way is most comfortable for you.

Step 3: We Create Your Certificate

This is where it gets official! This program is designed to help military families experiencing stress or difficulties – and while stress can come in all different shapes and sizes, we need to know that this program is helping people who need it!

Our CYP staff is required to submit a certificate for every family participating, and this certificate needs to be approved by someone like your squadron’s First Sergeant, Commander, Chaplain, or Military & Family Readiness Center.

But don’t panic! This may seem like a roadblock, but it isn’t. We know stress can be different for everyone, and if you think you need a break, we want to give that to you. But for anyone experiencing the stress of military life, we want to make sure you’re also connected with all of the on-base support resources you might need!

Step 4: Your Certificate is Signed

Your certificate is sent by our CYP staff to the appropriate representative.

By default, this will be your squadron’s First Sergeant – but if you would prefer to have your certificate sent to Military & Family Readiness, the Chaplain, Medical, or your Squadron Commander, please let us know!

Please keep in mind that whomever you direct us to send the certificate to, will need to be aware of your stress so that they can concur and sign off. If you haven’t informed them of it, they may contact you to verify the need first.

Once we have all the information we need from you, our CYP staff takes care of getting your certificate signed – so you don’t have to!

Step 5: You Take A Break!

Now you’re in!

Drop off your kids on the day of Give Parents a Break, and from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM you have time all to yourself!

Please note: Sign-ups close one week prior to the event, so that we can plan for staffing! For a full list of 2024 dates and the cut offs to sign up, scroll down.

2024 Dates

Register by 12 April.

Register by 10 May.

Register by 7 June.

Register by 12 July.

Register by 9 August.

Register by 13 September.

Register by 11 October.

Register by 8 November.

Register by 13 December.


Who can use this program?

Active Duty and their dependents.

Do I have to tell the Child & Youth about what’s causing my stress?

No, you do not! If you would like to share, feel free, but if not, no problem. We can still submit your certificate and give you a break without knowing anything about your situation. Your First Sergeant (or Chaplain, M&FRC, or Commander, if that’s your preference) may reach out to you for more information and to check in with you, but that’s it!

Do I have to get a new certificate every month?

Nope! Depending on your circumstances, certificates for Give Parents a Break can be issued for up to three months without being re-certified.

Is Give Parents a Break free?

Yes – it really is 100% FREE!

Can I just pay to put my kids in GPAB, instead of getting a certificate?

No, we are not authorized to charge for additional kids at Give Parents a Break. To join us, you must go through the qualification process above.

How do I know if I qualify?

If you’re stressed out, and you and your kids need a break to reset, do some self-care, or take care of some things – most likely you will qualify! We are not here to judge your level of stress, we’re just here to help. You could have a big life event like moving, a new baby, or a deployment – but you could also just be burnt out, or have any number of unique situations that are giving you a hard time. Sometimes, parents just need a break!

Does my certificate have to go to my First Sergeant?

No, it does not. By default, we’re most likely to send it to your First Sergeant to start, but that is not your only option.

If, for any reason, you would prefer not to have your certificate sent to your First Sergeant, please let us know when you sign up. We can also have your certificate signed directly by your squadron’s Commander, or if you don’t want your squadron involved, we can go to Military & Family Readiness or the Chaplain. Just let us know what you’d like to do, and we’ll take it from there!

I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old – do I need to call the CDC and the Youth Center to sign both kids up?

No, you do not! Pick whichever facility you’d like to contact and let them know you’d like to sign up both of your children – we’ll take care of the rest.

Do I have to use my time to do anything specific?

Absolutely not! Give Parents a Break is exactly that – a break! Drop off your kids and see a movie, do some self-care, go grocery shopping, catch up on Netflix. We just want you to relax and destress!


Call us to get started:

For children ages 6 weeks – 5 (not in school):

 Contact the Child Development Center

For 5 year olds (in school) – 12 year olds:

 Contact the Youth Center


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