A program for military families known as Children’s Waiting Room launched Monday at the Armed Services YMCA in Harker Heights.

It is one of several Armed Services YMCA core programs offered exclusively to active-duty soldiers and their families, according to a YMCA news release.

“This Children’s Waiting Room is located less than a mile away from Harker Heights Medical Home, providing enhanced convenience for military families in the area,” according to the release. “Military families will be able to drop their children off for up to two hours of child care while they attend appointments.”

The new location will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday Child care must be scheduled prior to appointment by calling 254-458-1015.

The Armed Services YMCA in the Killeen area opened its first Children’s Waiting Room at the Copperas Cove Family Center last year.

The program allows military family members “to receive the medical care they need while knowing their children are being taken care of by experienced child care professionals,” according to the release. “Understanding the value this provides to the military community, the ASYMCA plans for even further expansion and is in discussions to open a third location at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.?

The Children’s Waiting Room removes a significant barrier to health care for active-duty families.

When those families can drop off children at no cost before medical appointments, they are more likely to attend their scheduled appointments, according to the YMCA.

“I am excited we have this program for our soldiers. As a former military spouse of three children, this program would have helped me focus more on health and well-being of my family and myself, instead of the anxiety linked to the cost and inconvenience of drop-in child care,” said Sylvia Dolcemascola, the Armed Services YMCA Childcare Program director.

“It is tough enough to wrangle three children, keep them entertained and concentrate on the medical appointment, but I am more than thrilled to be able to give this gift to our soldiers and their families.”

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