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Quarters for Caregivers

Editor’s note: This blog posting is cross-posted with the California Work & Family Coalition blog.  FCA is a member of the California Work & Family coalition, which advocates for improved laws, policies, and programs to support caregivers in California.

By Kathleen Kelly, Executive Director, Family Caregiver Alliance

Total dollar valuation of unpaid services per family caregiver per year in CA: $8,000
Total dollar amount of state funds for family caregivers: $2.9 million
Total public investment per 5.9 million family caregivers in state: 50 cents
Total value of family caregivers to their families and society: priceless

You may remember this chart from an earlier blog piece from April 2011 – but it still speaks true now with updated data – California’s contribution for explicit support of family caregivers is 50 cents per caregiver. Now contrast that with the individual caregiver’s economic value of assistance they provide everyday: $8, 000 – some 47 billion dollars a year in the aggregate.

Now the Governor’s budget wants to cut even this tiny level of support for caring families in the state.

Don’t let this happen. Don’t let the first in the country caregiver support program – the Caregiver Resource Centers – and the enabling legislation disappear. The Caregiver Resource Centers are the only program in the state that provides practical information and support every year for over 12,000 caregivers of persons with adult onset brain impairments regardless of age, income or where you live.

The majority of caregivers served by the Caregiver Resource Centers (CRC) are in the workforce, middle income and juggling job, caregiving and other family responsibilities. The CRCs are the eldercare resource information provider for small and medium sized businesses that cannot afford employee assistance programs. And the presence of a trained and supported family caregiver is the best insurance against higher cost medical care and placement in a nursing home.

Quarters for caregivers. Caregivers who are our family members, our neighbors, our friends, our work colleagues and perhaps even ourselves. Now everyone has a story of caregiving. Tell yours to the Governor and legislature. And tell them quarters for caregivers are not enough.

Act Now – Tell Your Story on Why the Caregiver Resource Centers are Important and Should be Saved:

•Sign the CRC petition: Don’t balance the CA budget on the backs of family caregivers
•Call or write the Governor and your state representative. You can find their contact info here.
•Tell your story at a hearing in Sacramento: We’ll post updated information on the petition website.