The establishment of the CYI is in direct response to the growing number of caregiving youth who are unrecognized, invisible and falling through the cracks at school; youth who, with support, will become healthy, educated and productive adults. Unlike other countries including the United Kingdom, there are no professional or public opportunities in the U.S. focused on any of the four dimensions of C.A.R.E. as they relate to the issues and solutions of this hidden population.
“Our country has a vast amount of resources for family caregivers. Unfortunately, they are targeted at adult caregivers, and do not address the special challenges faced by children balancing care responsibilities with succeeding in school and personally,”
Initially the CYI will focus primarily on the issues of middle and high school youth caregiving, however it recognizes that elementary school children may also have caregiving responsibilities. CYI will create a learning environment that will be an invaluable resource to the greater local and state community as well as nationally. It is also projected that the CYI will become financially self-sustaining as well as generate income for other program development and operations of AACY.
The Caregiving Youth Institute is made possible by an initial grant from the Schmidt Family Foundation, a charitable organization that provides grants to local non-profit 501(c)3 organizations that meet as a way to give back to the community which entrepreneurs and philanthropists Charles E. and Dorothy F. Schmidt were a part of for so many years.
“The Schmidt Family Foundation is honored to support the American Association of Caregiving Youth in the establishment of the Caregiving Youth Institute,” said Richard L. Schmidt, chairman of the Schmidt Family Foundation. “This advancement is a tremendous step forward in the mission to shine a light on the challenges of caregiving youth, an under-recognized healthcare issue not only in our community, but across the nation.”
Connection - Develop free, monitored and secure support services among peer caregiving youth throughout the U.S. via an electronic format of direct connectivity. This platform will have an educational component as well as provide a means of interaction so youth caregivers learn they are part of a much larger population and are reminded that they are not alone.
Advocacy – Engage existing U.S. legislators and candidates for election, along with other influencers, to provide education about caregiving youth and ultimately produce policy changes with appropriations locally, at the state level and federally to include youth in support services for family caregivers, to allow youth caregiving to be considered as community service and to have long term recognition of their important role in health delivery
Research – Continue to support existing research projects with various universities, while seeking funding to update the statistics in the only national study, Young Caregivers in the US (2005), which is critical as there have been many demographic and healthcare system changes during the last decade.The results of this new data will provide impetus for action and further establish AACY as the premier U.S. organization addressing the needs of caregiving youth. Simultaneously, strengthening the relationships with several local universities will promote this work to students in related professions.
Education - Continue pursuing opportunities to educate the public, educators and healthcare professionals about this issue, including partnerships with universities, conferences, webinars, video productions, peer-reviewed journal publications, social and other multi-media and formal presentations. We will package and make available for purchase materials for others to use.
About the American Association for Caregiving Youth
The American Association of Caregiving Youth® (AACY) is a Florida based 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation that began serving the greater Boca Raton community in 1998. Today AACY is the only organization of its kind in the United States for addressing the issues surrounding the silent, vulnerable and hidden population, conservatively estimated to exceed 1.4 million children, who provide care for family members who are unable to manage life independently.
For statistics on youth caregiving, as well as personal stories of AACY participants, view our Hidden Population of Caregiving Youth content capsule: http://www.aacy.org/
The discovery of the extent of the caregiving youth population in the US occurred at Lynn University, where the Institute will be officially launched on April 23rd. For more information about AACY, visit www.aacy.org, where donations can be made online, or contact Dr. Siskowski at 561.391.7401.