Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), with House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), introduced the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, legislation which would expand and make permanent the VA’s popular Child Care Pilot program.
“It is paramount that this country supports women and families, and veterans. We have both a moral obligation and an economic imperative to do so,” said Brownley. “My bill would provide all veterans in need of VA health care, who are primary caretakers, access to child care while also allowing VA facilities the flexibility to ensure that these programs meet local needs. Making this important program permanent will remove an important barrier to enabling our veterans to receive the care that they have earned and deserve.”
“Veterans love child care,” said Brown. “It is impossible to say how many appointments have been saved because safe, on-site drop off child care is available. Veterans say it makes a huge difference so, clearly, we need to make this program available VA-wide.”
“Over the last several years we have seen how successful the pilot child-care programs have been in helping break down barriers between veterans, both men and women, and their health care. DAV has long supported Congress making this program permanent, and applauds Congresswoman Brownley’s efforts to enhance veterans’ access to VA health care, vocational rehabilitation, education and supported employment services,” said DAV National Commander Ron Hope.
Created in 2011 with the passage of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (PL 111-163), the Child Care Pilot program has served over 10,000 children. It currently offers free child-care for veterans using Veterans Health Administration healthcare services at a limited number of participating VA sites around the United States, but the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act would ensure that every VA facility provides child care. 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. During the first three years of the pilot program, 44 percent of users were mothers or stepmothers, 32 percent were fathers or stepfathers, and 24 percent were grandparents or legal guardians.
The VA Child Care Pilot program is set to expire on December 31, 2015 unless Congress takes action to extend the program.
The text of the bill can be found here: LINK.