March 15, 2018

Duckworth Introduces Bill to Help Veterans with Children Access Child Care, Reduce Veteran Unemployment


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill with seven of her colleagues today to support Veterans and Veteran families, as well as reduce Veteran unemployment, by helping improve access to child care services for Veterans participating in workforce and job training programs offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Labor (DOL). Duckworth’s new Veteran Employment and Child Care Access Act would create a federal program modeled after the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ “Tiny Boots” program to help ensure Veterans transitioning to civilian life can access affordable child care during their job seeking process, which is especially important for low-income Veterans, those on the cusp of homelessness or those already homeless. The new legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).

“Transitioning back into civilian life can be challenging for any Veteran, especially those struggling to find a new job,” said Duckworth. “It can be even harder when a Veteran searching for a new job also has young children to care for. Far too many men and women who have sacrificed in uniform – especially female Veterans – struggle to secure employment after their service because they can’t afford to pay for child care while job searching. We can do so much more to support Veterans who are also working parents, and my new bill will go a long way toward that goal.”

The Veteran Employment and Child Care Access Act would ensure any Veteran who is the primary caretaker and is participating in VA or DOL workforce or job training programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E), VA Compensated Work Therapy (CWT), Education and Career Counseling Program, Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program or Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans With Families (HFVVWF) has access to child care services. Increased access to child care services would be provided by a stipend for payment of any licensed provider, a direct provision of child care at an on-site facility at the VA or collaboration with a facility or program of another federal department or agency.

Duckworth has long been an advocate for supporting working families and making affordable child care more accessible to working parents. In 2017, Duckworth helped introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act with U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to help ensure low- and middle-income American families have access to affordable and high-quality child care. Duckworth also reintroduced the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Reauthorization Act to help increase access to on-campus child care for student parents, who make up more than one quarter of all college students in America.

The following organizations also support the Veteran Employment and Child Care Access Act: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, American Veterans (AMVETS), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Wounded Warrior Project, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) and Blind Veterans of America (BVA).