(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21) and Kathy Castor (FL-14) and 22 additional Members in sending a letter to the Administration for Community Living requesting the Family Caregiving Advisory Council consider the needs and perspectives of youth caregivers.

There are at least 1.3 million caregiving youth in the United States ages 8-18 years old. These youth provide significant assistance, sometimes alone, to relatives or family members who need support because of chronic or terminal health conditions. The academic, physical, developmental, and emotional impact of caregiving on youth is often hidden behind closed doors, and they often lack the support they need to succeed.

The Members wrote: 

“As Members of Congress we must ensure caregiving youth have the support and resources they need to thrive. Therefore, we ask that the Administration for Community Living and the new Family Caregiving Advisory Council consult with experts on youth caregiving and thoroughly consider the needs and perspectives of youth caregivers at future meetings.”

“Young caregivers deserve a normal childhood and a bright future,” said Rep. Frankel. “We need to acknowledge the unique challenges this community faces and find ways to support them.”

“Caregivers often sacrifice jobs and wages to take care of an aging family member or child with special needs – and they often have little or no support themselves. In Florida, almost 3 million caregivers provide more than 2.6 billion hours of care. The Family Caregiving Advisory Council was created to help modernize federal policies to support caregivers and improve the lives of caregivers, seniors, veterans and all families who need some help,” said Rep. Castor. “We must give family caregivers of all ages and backgrounds the tools they need to survive economically, provide some respite when they need it, and importantly ensure that their loved ones receive quality care. We have made much progress in recent years in elevating the role of caregivers, but as the complexity and intensity of family caregiving increases, we need to ensure that all caregivers have the resources necessary to support their loved ones.”

“We at the American Association of Caregiving Youth are thankful for the members of Congress bringing this critical issue to the national forefront,” said Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD, President and Founder of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY). “The needed investment of our country in these selfless children is not only good for them and their families, it also benefits society as supported caregiving youth become educated, productive adults, many of whom enter healthcare careers - just where our future labor force is needed!”

To read the full letter, click here.