Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives has approved legislation that will preserve Kids Korner, a program that provides veterans with childcare services at the Buffalo VA Medical Center.
“Access to childcare should never be a barrier to healthcare for our veterans,” said Congressman Higgins. “For Western New York, this bill ends the yearly struggle to ensure childcare services remain at the Buffalo VA.”
The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act was introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley and co-sponsored by Congressman Higgins. The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide child care to eligible veterans while they receive medical treatment and services. Under the bill child care assistance can include on-site care at a VA facility, collaboration with an off-site facility or assistance with child care costs. Locally it means that the Kids Korner program is included in the baseline of the Veterans Administration 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 of 2013. Congressman Higgins 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.
Since its opening Kids Korner has served thousands of children of Western New York veterans. In 2015 alone 1378 children utilized Kids Korner at the Buffalo VA. Fifty-two percent of those taking part in the Kids Korner program were mothers/female veterans and twelve percent of visitors were grandparent caregivers who are veterans.
Higgins also authored similar legislation seeking a permanent solution to giving VA Medical Centers the authority to coordinate child care services for veterans receiving care. The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 95) will now go to the Senate for consideration and approval.
For more information on Kids Korner visit: https://www.buffalo.va.gov/BUFFALO/features/Kids_Korner.asp