A childcare pilot program at the Northport Veterans Affairs, which is scheduled to expire at the end of September, is awaiting approval from the U.S. House of Representatives to be extended.
According to a press release from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, more than 174 local veterans per month have taken advantage of the childcare program, which has cared for 234 children this year while their parents receive mental health services from the Northport VA.
Before the program was in place, a survey conducted by the Northport VA found that 11 percent of 85 respondents had to skip healthcare appointments for lack of childcare
Gillibrand is pushing for the House of Representatives to approve the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2013, which would extend the childcare program for another year. The Act passed unanimously in the Senate Monday.
“Our men and women in uniform and their families make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of our country,” Gillibrand said. “When they return home, many need counseling and help readjusting back to civilian life. This program helps our veterans make time to get the assistance they need by ensuring child care during their appointments. This pilot program has been incredibly successful on Long Island and should remain available here, and expanded throughout the country.”
In a recent poll, the program was given a “very satisfied,” rating by 100 percent of individuals saying they would use the service again.
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to participate as a pilot site for this important program. Since our opening April 30, 2012, VA Kids Care at Northport VA Medical Center has had over 1,450 visits from our veterans‘ children. This service has provided them the opportunity to attend clinic appointments and participate in many of our VA Programs,” Northport VA Medical Center Director, Philip Moschitta said in a press statement.
The program accommodates 30 children at a time for up to three and a half hours and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.