LANDMARK DECISION BY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Caregiving Youth Recognized for Doing Community Service at Home
(Palm Beach County, FL – March 22, 2012). Caregiving Youth, enrolled with the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY), now have the opportunity to update and report Caregiving status to AACY/CYP staff for conversion to Community Service Hours on a monthly basis throughout the calendar year. Community Service Hours are required for graduation and are commonly recognized by academic institutions across the country. Prior to this decision, work at home was not recognized as community service.
“I have good news for you” stated Kim Williams the CYP liaison with The School District of Palm Beach County in a telephone call yesterday to Dr. Connie Siskowski, President of AACY. “Your proposal for community service hours was approved!”
The awarding of community service hours is in accordance with specific criteria including that a home visit has been made through the CYP. The home visit validates the caregiving situation and the student’s Level of Responsibility (LOR). The LOR is five tiered weighted index modified from the adult family caregiving Level of Care/Burden. It uses the tasks and hours/wk as determinants with personal care tasks such as those that a home health aide would do (feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, diapering) receiving a higher weight than household chores such as grocery shopping or laundry.)
As Boca High student Mishu Khan states, “Now caregiving youth can compete with peers – our playing field is a little more level.”
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 ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. Its mission is to recognize, support, and promote the awareness of these youth that are both students and family caregivers.
AACY’s model program, the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP), works in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County and currently serves more than 500 caregiving youth and their families in 8 area middle schools and 17 high schools. The mission of the CYP is a) Increase awareness of caregiving youth issues throughout the Palm Beach County health and education communities; b) Identify and prioritize students in greatest need of services through eligibility and assessment; c) Reduce anxiety, depression and isolation while increasing the ability for caregiving youth to remain in school through the provision of counseling, education, and support services including respite and sponsored activities; and d) Conduct in-home evaluations to strengthen families by linking them with existing community support services.