Washington, DC – With a local Northport Veterans Affairs (VA) child care pilot program set to expire at the end of the month, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today is fighting to save this important program. More than 174 local veterans per month have taken advantage of this service, which has cared for 234 children this year while their parents receive mental health services from the Northport VA. Senator Gillibrand is pushing the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2013, which would keep this service on Long Island an additional year. While veterans receive VA readjustment counseling and related mental health services, this program provides child care assistance at designated VA medical facilities.
“Our men and women in uniform and their families make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of our country,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “When they return home, many need counseling and help readjusting back to civilian life. This program helps our veterans make time to get the assistance they need by ensuring child care during their appointments. This pilot program has been incredibly successful on Long Island and should remain available here, and expanded throughout the country.”
Northport VA Medical Center Director, Philip Moschitta commented: “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to participate as a pilot site for this important program. Since our opening April 30, 2012, VA Kids Care at Northport VA Medical Center has had over 1,450 visits from our veterans‘ children. This service has provided them the opportunity to attend clinic appointments and participate in many of our VA Programs.”
At the end of the month the child care pilot program at the Northport VA will be forced to discontinue their program. This legislation would preserve this effective pilot program for local veterans. In a recent poll, the program was given a “very satisfied,” rating by 100 percent of individuals saying they would use the service again. Senator Gillibrand is also supporting the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013, to extend the pilot program.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed the extension measure by unanimous consent. The legislation now awaits consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.