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U.S. House of Representatives request GAO study on caregiving youth

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    U.S. House of Representatives request GAO study on caregiving youth

    On April 12, U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a formal study on the characteristics of caregiving youth.  

    Youth caregivers are children and adolescents under the age of 18 who provide primary caregiving services, or services that support daily living, to a parent, grandparent, sibling or other relative who requires assistance due to a disability, medical condition or age-related chronic condition or disability. Youth caregivers also serve as secondary caregivers and support other family members in their caregiving responsibilities.  

    There are approximately three to five million youth caregivers in the U.S. However, this number could represent a gross underestimation as data remains limited. These youth are largely excluded from programs designed to assist family caregivers, with many of the available resources reserved for adults. Additionally, youth caregivers are not eligible for designated programs or resources that support vulnerable or marginalized children and adolescents. As a result, youth caregivers often have to sacrifice their own development, affecting their emotional and social well-being and educational attainment, in order to maintain their caregiving responsibilities.   

    The requested GAO study would: 

    • Confirm the number of current youth caregivers across the nation and identify various demographic characteristics in order to better target services 
    • Determine if the substance use crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly contributed to the prevalence of youth caregivers 
    • Define the obstacles faced by youth caregivers and determine appropriate services to overcome those obstacles 
    • Identify whether any federal programs aimed at assisting vulnerable youth and caregivers address the educational development and mental health concerns of caregiving youth 
    • Confirm whether or not federal agencies have the regulatory authority to extend existing program services to caregiving youth 
    • Assess how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can better partner with federal and state agencies/programs to better assist caregiving youth 

    Counties commend federal action to support informal caregivers, especially caregiving youth, and hope the results of the GAO report can assist in the development of targeted policies and programs. Counties believe decisions on social programs should be made using data and measurable outcomes and applaud Congress’ action to gain a greater insight into this largely hidden population. 

    Additional Resources

    • NACo Blog: House introduces bill that would increase resources for veteran and military caregivers 
    • NACo Report: The County Human Services and Education Landscape 
    • NACo Toolkit: Tracking COVID-19 Relief for Human Services and Education Programs 
    On April 12, U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a formal study on the characteristics of caregiving youth.  
    2022-04-25
    Blog
    2022-04-25
Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) requested a report from the GAO on the characteristics of caregiving youth Youth caregivers function as both primary caregivers for family members and secondary caregivers, assisting other relatives with their caregiving responsibilities Counties support better data and information about youth caregivers so that we can provide this vulnerable population with the appropriate resources and services

On April 12, U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a formal study on the characteristics of caregiving youth.  

Youth caregivers are children and adolescents under the age of 18 who provide primary caregiving services, or services that support daily living, to a parent, grandparent, sibling or other relative who requires assistance due to a disability, medical condition or age-related chronic condition or disability. Youth caregivers also serve as secondary caregivers and support other family members in their caregiving responsibilities.  

There are approximately three to five million youth caregivers in the U.S. However, this number could represent a gross underestimation as data remains limited. These youth are largely excluded from programs designed to assist family caregivers, with many of the available resources reserved for adults. Additionally, youth caregivers are not eligible for designated programs or resources that support vulnerable or marginalized children and adolescents. As a result, youth caregivers often have to sacrifice their own development, affecting their emotional and social well-being and educational attainment, in order to maintain their caregiving responsibilities.   

The requested GAO study would: 

  • Confirm the number of current youth caregivers across the nation and identify various demographic characteristics in order to better target services 
  • Determine if the substance use crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly contributed to the prevalence of youth caregivers 
  • Define the obstacles faced by youth caregivers and determine appropriate services to overcome those obstacles 
  • Identify whether any federal programs aimed at assisting vulnerable youth and caregivers address the educational development and mental health concerns of caregiving youth 
  • Confirm whether or not federal agencies have the regulatory authority to extend existing program services to caregiving youth 
  • Assess how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can better partner with federal and state agencies/programs to better assist caregiving youth 

Counties commend federal action to support informal caregivers, especially caregiving youth, and hope the results of the GAO report can assist in the development of targeted policies and programs. Counties believe decisions on social programs should be made using data and measurable outcomes and applaud Congress’ action to gain a greater insight into this largely hidden population. 

Additional Resources

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    <h3><strong>Counties Matter in Human Services</strong></h3>

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    Human Services & Education Steering Committee

    All matters pertaining to children’s issues, foster care,  public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Policy Platform & Resolutions 2021-2022 2022 NACo Legislative Priorities
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    <p>All matters pertaining to children&rsquo;s issues, foster care,&nbsp; public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary,

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