Kids Korner reauthorized for 2017
Congressman Brian Higgins announced President Barack Obama signed legislation approved by the House of Representatives and Senate that will allow for the Kids Korner program at the Buffalo VA Medical Center to remain open.
"We need to do more than say 'Thank you' to our veterans; we need to show our thanks by making sure that access to quality care and services are available," Higgins said. "Kids Korner fills a demonstrated need to remove child care as a barrier to veterans getting the health care they need and deserve."
Reauthorization of the program was included in H.R. 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016, approved by the House of Representatives on Sept. 13, by the Senate on Sept. 19, and signed by Obama on Sept. 29. The bill authorizes $1.5 million for extension of the child care program at various VA health care sites, including Buffalo, through Dec. 31, 2017.
Kids Korner first opened in 2011 as one of three pilot projects nationwide providing child care to veterans visiting VA health care facilities for health and mental health appointments. The program was set to expire in 2013. Due to the demand and great success of the program, Higgins has led the push for extension of Kids Korner for the past several years.
In 2015 alone, 1,378 children utilized Kids Korner at the Buffalo VA. Fifty-two percent of those taking part in the Kids Korner program last year were mothers/female veterans, and 12 percent of visitors were grandparent caregivers who are veterans.
In total, nearly 6,000 children of Western New York veterans have been served at Kids Korner since 2012.