In May 2009, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a roundtable to discuss “The Growing Needs of Women Veterans” and ask “Is the VA Ready?”. The answer to this question is no. The VA seems to operate as if all of its patients are “young, childless, and male”. It fails to provide adequate health care services to women as well as families. While the agency does little to help victims of sexual harassment and assault, it does even less to provide veterans’ families with health care. VA centers do not offer treatment to children of veterans and are not required to provide child care of any kind.
During the roundtable, author Kayla Williams explained that many VA centers are inaccessible and unaccommodating to veterans with young children. While Dr. Patricia M. Hayes of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs indicated that the agency needs to provide more services for the families of veterans, Dawn Halfaker of the advisory committee for OEF/OIF Soldiers and Families presented official Department of Veterans Affairs documents stating that “there is no legal authority to provide these services”.
The American Prospect, May 23, 2009
“Honor Military Families with Adequate Health Care”
Author: Courtney E. Martin
Student Researcher: Sarah Payne
Faculty Instructor: Peter Phillips, Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University
Evaluator: Sheila Katz, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University