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Considering child care and parenting needs in Veterans Affairs mental health services.

Tsai J, David DH, Edens EL, Crutchfield A. Considering child care and parenting needs in Veterans Affairs mental health services. Evaluation and program planning. 2013 Aug 1; 39:19-22.

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Child care and parenting needs of adults with mental illness are of growing concern, especially among those seeking Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health services. One area of interest concerns the possible benefits that on-site child care could have for improving veterans' access to VA mental health care. Child care programs are currently being piloted at the VA for the first time, although the need for them has not been evaluated. We conducted a brief survey of a convenience sample of 147 veterans (132 men, 15 women) seeking mental health care at outpatient clinics and/or at a psychiatric rehabilitation center at one VA. Participants were asked about their attitudes and experiences regarding child care and parenting support at the VA. Of the 52 (35.4%) participants who responded and had children under 18, the majority of both men and women surveyed agreed that the VA should offer child care services and that they would use child care services at the VA if it were available. These results are based on a small sample of participants, but they may contribute to ongoing discussion and efforts to develop "family-friendly" mental health services.

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