VIDEO: Congresswoman Elaine Luria Highlights “Unacceptable” Child Care Options for Military Families
WASHINGTON – Using data published by The Virginian Pilot and the United States Naval Institute, Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) this week called attention to the “unacceptable” child care options for military families in Coastal Virginia, specifically citing the lack of child care to support the U.S. Navy facility at Wallops Island.
At a House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing Thursday afternoon, Congresswoman Luria zeroed in on single military parents, dual military parents where one parent is deployed, and military parents who have to stand duty overnight.
According to The Virginian Pilot, Naval Station Norfolk’s child care center is at capacity, and there are only 20 spots for overnight child care. Meanwhile, nationwide, the United States Naval Institute recently reported the Navy has 9,298 infants and toddlers that its child care centers cannot assist.
At the hearing, Congresswoman Luria relayed those jarring statistics to VADM Robert P. Burke, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel. Furthermore, Congresswoman Luria added, Wallops Island has no child care facility at all.
“That seems like an unacceptable amount to meet the demand,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Every time I have a town hall on the Eastern Shore of Virginia – myself and Senator Warner were there a few weeks ago – we have servicemembers show up and talk about the fact that there is absolutely no child care available. … I’m just putting this out there as far as identifying the scope of the need.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, amplified Congresswoman Luria’s comments.
“Child care is a huge problem on every one of our bases,” Congresswoman Speier said. “What needs to happen is a comprehensive look at what the need is, and then immediate steps taken to either start building the facilities or finding the opportunities for these families to get quality child care.”
Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.