Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) and Congressman Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) led a bipartisan letter to House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla) and Ranking Member Corrine Brown (D-Fla) urging them to reauthorize the VA Child Care Pilot program before it expires at the end of 2015.
“The results of the VA Child Care Pilot Program clearly indicate that many veterans with children need access to childcare in order to access the high quality VA healthcare they have earned and deserve,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “It’s also clear, where women veterans used the service at a rate four times their population among the veteran population at large, that this service would especially benefit our growing population of women veterans and their families. It’s for these reasons that I have introduced legislation to expand the program nationwide and have called for the pilot program to be reauthorized before it expires.”
“Our veterans go to battle for this country and when they return home access to quality care for their children while they attend necessary medical appointments should not be a battle,” said Congressman Higgins. “So we are seeking continuation and expansion of programs that ensure the availability of child care is not an obstacle to veterans getting the quality healthcare they need and deserve.”
Congresswoman Brownley has led efforts to increase veterans’ access to the VA child care program. This spring, she introduced the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 1948), legislation to make permanent VA’s Child Care Pilot program and to expand it so that every veteran seeking treatment at VA medical facilities can have access to safe and reliable child care. As the number of women veterans grows, programs like the VA Child Care pilot will play an important role in ensuring that the delivery of VA healthcare services to the many mothers who are enrolled. The program has also benefited many male veterans, including fathers and grandfathers who are caretakers for small children.
The VA Child Care Pilot program was first authorized through the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 to provide assistance to qualified veterans for child care expenses incurred while receiving care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities at a small number of VA sites across the United States. In the 113th Congress, the program was reauthorized through the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2013. Unless Congress acts, authorization for the program will expire on December 31, 2015.