I am pleased Congress has finally gotten to work addressing the many issues that you identified as your top priorities, including supporting our veterans.
Our nation has a responsibility to ensure that our veterans are served with the same dignity and honor with which they have served. This includes providing veterans with access to the services they need to successfully transition from active duty to civilian life.
As the parent of military children, I was very pleased that one of the first bills that passed the House was the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act. This bipartisan bill expands and makes permanent a pilot program that has been in place since 2010, which provides child care services for veterans when they have a VA medical appointment.
I am especially pleased that this legislation includes assistance for veterans receiving mental healthcare services, including readjustment counseling, substance abuse counseling, and emergency mental health services for individuals in crisis.
Currently, women veterans are the fastest growing population of veterans and 42 percent of the women seeking care at the VA have said it is hard to find child care to attend medical appointments.
This legislation will ensure that both parents have the child care support they need to attend their medical appointments, and even extends that access to grandparents if they are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren.
As service members transition to civilian life, we cannot allow access to child care be an impediment to them seeking the medical services they need. I am hopeful that the Senate will swiftly consider and pass this legislation, so our veterans have a convenient, safe and cost-free option for child care when they have VA medical appointments.
It is very important that we not allow anything to stand in the way of our veterans receiving the care and benefits they earned and deserve. To those who have served, along with their families, thank you for all that you have given.