Child Care Assistance for Veterans in Rehab: Does the VA Help?

2 min read · 3 sections
Evidence-Based Care
Expert Staff
Entering a substance use treatment program while raising a child can prove challenging without resources to help.
What you will learn:
Understanding VA benefits and what's covered
Resources to help pay for child care during treatment
How to get child care assistance

Not everyone has family or friends who can assist with child care while an individual obtains the help they need. Are there resources to help cover added child care costs? Are there specific child care assistance programs for Veterans?

Does Veterans Affairs Help with Child Care While I Am in Rehab?

If you served in the active military, naval, or air service, including qualifying Reserve and National Guard members—and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge—you’re likely eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare. VA healthcare provides services for substance use problems.1-3

While VA benefits can help fund treatment, you may still have to take unpaid leave from a job to do so. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees can take up to 12 workweeks of covered, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, including to get treatment for substance misuse.4

However, these benefits don’t extend to help with child care costs.

Child Care Assistance for Veterans

Just because the VA benefits don’t extend to help cover the costs associated with child care doesn’t mean Veterans seeking treatment for substance misuse don’t have options.

Child care assistance programs, offered through the federal government, are available in every state for individuals, including Veterans. Eligibility requirements vary by state. In Arizona, for instance, the Arizona Department of Economic Security Division of Child Care offers child care assistance to individuals participating in drug or alcohol treatment or rehab programs.5 Michigan also provides child care assistance for those participating in “family preservation” activities, which includes approved counseling and treatment programs for a physical, emotional, or mental health conditions.6 And these are just a few. To find the child care financial assistance specifics where you live, visit ChildCare.gov to read the eligibility requirements in your state.7

Some Veterans might also be eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These programs provide child care and early learning and development for children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family. Eligibility is largely dependent on income and need, including child care when a parent is receiving treatment for substance use.8

How Do I Get Veteran Child Care Assistance for My Family While I’m in Treatment?

Since every state is different—with various eligibility requirements—start by visiting ChildCare.gov, finding your state, and visiting the financial assistance for families section, which spells out the requirements to receive child care assistance in that state.

Additionally, if children go to live with a non-parent relative while you seek substance use treatment, your children may be able to participate in a Head Start or Early Head Start program. That’s because children who have been temporarily rehomed due to a parent’s substance misuse may meet the eligibility requirements for “homelessness” set by Head Start.9

If you’re a Veteran or have a loved one who is a Veteran struggling with addiction, know that child care costs should not prevent you from seeking the treatment that you need. One of the major goals of addiction treatment is to help individuals thrive in society after they leave, which, for a mother or father, means becoming a responsible parent. Beyond learning coping skills to avoid future substance use, some facilities offer programs that can help parents improve and develop life skills that are most relevant for raising children.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers Veteran-specific treatment through our Salute to Recovery program and family therapy at many of our facilities nationwide. Call to speak with one of our compassionate admissions navigators and start your path to long-term recovery today.

 

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