Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 95), legislation introduced by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) to make it easier for veterans to receive healthcare. This bill makes permanent the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program and expands it so that qualified veterans who are primary caretakers have a convenient, cost-free option for child care when they have VA medical appointments.
“We owe our nation’s veterans a great debt for their service to our country, and that includes ensuring they receive the care they need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Brownley.
“The lack of affordable and convenient child care is a major barrier for veterans trying to make their appointments at VA facilities. This is especially problematic for women veterans, who are more often the primary caretakers of young children. The VA’s Child Care Pilot Program has been a major success story, so making it permanent and expanding it nationwide is simply commonsense.”
“I want to thank Congressman Brian Higgins for his steadfast support of this bill, and my bipartisan colleagues on the VA Committee who have backed this proposal every step of the way. Today the House sent a clear message: better access to child care means to better access to health care. I am pleased to see this bill advance to the Senate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this to the President’s desk.”
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 country 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.