WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House in passing the Veterans Access to Child Care Act, legislation that would expand access to childcare for veterans and their families.
In 2010, Congress created a pilot program to provide free childcare at a small number of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and clinics. This program has allowed thousands of children to access childcare during their parents’ appointments at VA medical facilities. According to the VA, between fiscal year (FY) 2015 and FY 2018, more than 13,000 veterans with children have used the program.
Unless Congress acts, the VA’s childcare pilot program will expire on October 1, 2019. This legislation would make the program permanent. The bill would also expand the program, so that veterans can continue to have a convenient, safe, and cost-free option for childcare during their VA medical appointments.
“Veterans who are parents, grandparents, and guardians should never have to choose between medical treatment and taking care of their family,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to help pass commonsense legislation that would allow additional military veterans to access safe, free childcare during their VA appointments. Without this access, many veterans would be forced to cancel their appointments, causing them to miss necessary care and screenings. I’ll keep fighting to protect and strengthen benefits for those who put on the uniform and selflessly serve our country.”
Spanberger also voted to support an amendment—introduced by U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11)—to the legislation that would prevent any on-site VA childcare center from employing anyone convicted of sex crimes, offenses involving a child victim, violent crimes, or drug felonies.
“I was proud to vote for this amendment, which was put forth by Congresswoman Sherrill, herself a veteran, former federal prosecutor, and mother of four. The safety of our children must always come first. I appreciate Congresswoman Sherill drawing upon her own experiences to take proactive efforts to strengthen the Veterans Access to Child Care Act and to further ensure the safety of our country’s children,” added Spanberger.
The Veterans Access to Child Care Act is led by U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA-26). The legislation is supported by Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, Easterseals, and the Fleet Reserve Association.
A former case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and a former federal agent, Spanberger represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which contains all or portions of Amelia, Chesterfield, Culpeper, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, Nottoway, Orange, Powhatan, and Spotsylvania counties in Central Virginia.