Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 95), legislation authored by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) that would make permanent the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program and expand it so that all veterans who are primary caretakers have a safe, reliable, and cost-free option for child care when they use VA healthcare.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure veterans are able to get the care they have earned and deserve, and that includes ensuring that those seeking treatment at VA medical facilities don’t miss appointments because they don’t have access to safe and reliable child care,” said Congresswoman Brownley.
“The lack of convenient and affordable child care presents a barrier for many veterans – including mothers, fathers, and grandparents – preventing them from making their appointments. Expanding the pilot program will address this issue nationwide so that our veterans, especially women veterans who are more often the primary caretaker, are able to get the care they need.”
“I want to thank Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY) for championing this issue with me. His leadership and support have been instrumental in moving this bill forward.”
Currently, the Child Care Pilot Program offers free child care for qualified veterans using VA healthcare services at a limited number of participating sites around the United States and has cared for over 10,000 children. Congress has reauthorized this popular pilot program three times, but it is set to expire on October 1, 2017. The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act would make the pilot program permanent and expand it to include every VA facility in the nation.
According to a VA Satisfaction Survey of veterans who have used the pilot program, a majority responded that without the available child care they would have brought their children to their appointment or cancelled their appointment altogether.
This legislation is supported by Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, Easterseals, and the Fleet Reserve Association.
Please see the Congresswoman’s remarks during the committee hearing here.