Weekly Feature

2017-08-17 / Local News

Higgins seeks to preserve hospital child care

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins said the House of Representatives has approved legislation that will preserve Kids Korner, a program that provides veterans with child care services at the Buffalo VA Medical Center.

Higgins said access to child care should never be a barrier to health care for veterans. He said the bill ends the yearly struggle for Western New Yorkers to ensure that child care services remain at the Buffalo VA, which is located at 3495 Bailey Ave. near Main Street.

According to the release, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act was introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley and co-sponsored by Higgins.

The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide child care to eligible veterans while they receive medical treatment and services. According to the press release, under the bill, child care assistance can include onsite care at a VA facility, collaboration with an off-site facility or assistance with child care costs. In the release, Higgins said that locally, it means that the Kids Korner program is included in the baseline of the Veterans Affairs budget.

Kids Korner opened at the Buffalo VA in 2011 as one of three pilot projects in the nation. The program was set to expire in September 2013. Higgins further said in the release that he fought against closure that year and worked each and every year since then to see that the program’s authorization was extended through legislation.

In 2014, Higgins worked to continue the program, asking appropriators to include Kids Korner in the continuing resolution. In 2015, he fought to include extension of the program in the VA authorization bill, and last year the congressman won another one-year extension of the bill in the VA Expiring Authorities Act of 2016.

Higgins added that the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act will now go to the Senate for consideration and approval.

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