Higgins Announces Extension of Childcare Program at Buffalo VA
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that the President has signed legislation approved by the House of Representatives and Senate which will allow for the Kids Korner program at the Buffalo VA Medical Center to remain open.
“We need to do more than say ‘thank you’ to our veterans, we need to show our thanks by making sure that access to quality care and services are available,” said Congressman Higgins. “Kids Korner fills a demonstrated need to remove childcare as a barrier to veterans getting the healthcare they need and deserve.”
Reauthorization of the program was included in H.R. 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016, approved by the House of Representatives on September 13, by the Senate on September 19 and signed by the President on September 29, 2016. The bill authorizes $1.5 million for extension of the childcare program at various VA healthcare sites including Buffalo through December 31, 2017.
Kids Korner first opened in 2011 as one of three pilot projects nationwide providing child care to veterans visiting VA Healthcare facilities for health and mental health appointments. The program was set to expire in 2013. Due to the demand and great success of the program, Congressman Higgins has led the push for extension of Kids Korner for the last several years.
In 2015 alone 1378 children utilized Kids Korner at the Buffalo VA. Fifty-two percent of those taking part in the Kids Korner program last year were mothers/female veterans and twelve percent of visitors were grandparent caregivers who are veterans. In total nearly 6,000 children of Western New York veterans have been served at Kids Korner since 2012.