In response to notifications that the Buffalo VA Medical Center's Childcare Service Center will be closed on Sept. 30, 2013, Congressman Brian Higgins, NY-26, called on congressional leaders to include continued funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs child care pilot program in a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2014.
In his letter to Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi, Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, and Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey, Higgins writes, in part: "This program has helped veterans access the health care they deserve by removing at least one fairly large obstacle from their path. A survey conducted by the VA found that nearly a third of Veterans were interested in childcare services, and more than 10 percent had to cancel or reschedule VA appointments due to lack of childcare. Congress should not allow a lack of child care to prevent veterans from making and keeping clinic appointments."
Higgins was in attendance in November 2011 when the Buffalo VA's Kids Korner was opened. Buffalo's facility is one of only three others in the nation, along with Northport and Puget Sound, Wash., to take part in this pilot program, which was established by Congress as part of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010.
In addition to including continued funding for the child care pilot program in a continuing resolution, the House could also reauthorize the program with passage of H.R. 958, the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act, sponsored by Rep. Rick Larsen.