The 2014 establishment of the Caregiving Youth Institute was in direct response to the growing number of caregiving youth who are unrecognized, invisible and falling through the system cracks in healthcare, education and the community; youth who, with support, will become healthy, educated and productive adults. Unlike other countries, including the United Kingdom, there are yet no professional or public support services in the United States as they relate to the issues and solutions of this hidden population.
The Caregiving Youth Institute (CYI) seeks to further raise the level of awareness of the multi-system needs of caregiving youth along with providing solutions for their support through the multiple initiatives of Connection, Advocacy, Research and Education (C.A.R.E.)
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. One new connection for these U.S. children who are caring for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members, is through their participation in a CYI hosted Caregiving Youth Forum and a biweekly chat on The Caregiver Space, an online community for caregivers of all ages.
Engage and educate U.S., state and local legislators, along with other influencers about caregiving youth, their contributions to society now and in the future when they become educated adults. Ultimately policy changes with appropriations locally, at the state level and federally should include caregiving youth as well as adult family caregivers, encompass youth caregiving contributions for community service hours, and have long-term recognition as providers of care in their important role in health delivery.
Continue existing and support new research projects with various medical schools and universities, while seeking funding to update the statistics in the only national study, Young Caregivers in the US (2005). The data, now a decade old, is critical as there have been many demographic and healthcare system changes during the past ten years. The results of this new data will provide impetus for action and further establish the American Association of Caregiving Youth 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.
Pursue opportunities to educate the public, educators and healthcare professionals about this issue, while furthering the affiliate network partnerships with universities, participating in conferences, webinars, video productions, peer-reviewed journal publications, social and other multi-media and formal presentations. Successful workshop curriculum and other materials are available.