CAREGIVING YOUTH PROJECT
In 2006, the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) made history by becoming the first program in the US to provide direct services for Caregiving Youth. CYP has grown significantly and served over 2500 students at 35 middle and high schools across Palm Beach County. There are also an additional 22 schools in which students are enrolled but do not benefit from a formal in-school program due to resource constraints.
- AACY provides these direct services through a Behavioral Health Agreement with The School District of Palm Beach County. This agreement allows the CYP team to interact with school personnel, utilize their facilities, and access students in groups or one-on-one for services during school hours.
- Students typically remain in AACY’s Caregiving Youth Project for five and a half years. The professional CYP team provides services to students from grades six through twelve.
- The CYP offers Caregiving Youth Coaching through Skills Building Workshops specific to this population’s social, emotional, and practical needs. This culminates towards positively impacting students’ grades and mental health, helping them reach graduation targets, and alleviating feeling alone.
- Through its school district partnership, AACY receives student records such as grades/graduation rates/behavioral progression information to verify CYP participant outcomes.
- To be eligible for the CYP services that receive certain funding, students must live in Palm Beach County, FL.
- Participants learn about CYP through referrals from School staff and other organizations familiar with our program’s benefits. Word of mouth also helps spread information, and Lunch & Learn sessions are open to all interested students.
- After being welcomed into the program, our Family Specialists reach out to each family for an assessment of their needs and provide resources to reduce student and family stress. This ensures that a tailored plan is created and can be adapted as necessary throughout the years. Furthermore, students can access office staff during business hours or dedicated support from our experts at any time.
This video was created prior to new research estimating that there are over 5.4M Caregiving Youth in the United States.
- Focus for the student is tough when family health conditions create a decline in independence accompanied by stressors and require caregiving;
- Family caregiving is typically an adult responsibility; but adults are not always available, thus thrusting children into this role;
- More than a million young people bathe, dress, feed, assist with walking, give medications and do many other tasks for family members leaving little play time.
The Caregiving Youth Projects breaks through stresses and barriers to learning with direct services:
- In School | Skills-Building classes and Lunch and Learn Sessions – Grades 6-12;
- At Home | Home visits by a social worker links families with resources, provides school supplies, food, laptops, respite, tutoring, counseling, and solutions for special project needs.
- Out of School | Overnight Camp Treasure and Reunion Camp, family Holiday Celebrations, picnics, college prep, other education and fun activities.
- As of June 30, 2022 more than 2,000 Caregiving Youth and their families have enrolled in the CYP. Typically they begin with CYP from 6th grade and are from 35 middle and high schools in Palm Beach County, FL stretching from Boca Raton north to Palm Beach Gardens and west to Belle Glade and Pahokee. Participants are also from 22 other schools in the County.
- Caregiving Youth elect to remain with the CYP into high school – and they do for an average of 5.46 years concluding with an eight year average 98.7% high school graduation rate and more than 90% going on to post-secondary education or the military!
- Caregiving Youth report that the CYP has helped them with grades, confidence, skills, family life, communication and managing anger and stress.
When children assist family members who are chronically ill, injured, aging, or disabled, they need extra special support in their education as well as in their caregiving role. They also need a chance to experience childhood fun!
- Please volunteer with us to allow student caregivers to experience that childhood fun! Volunteers help with a variety of activities – in the office or out. The Caregiving Youth Project plans weekend camps, fishing trips, computer classes, beach parties, cooking classes, and health care classes.
Volunteers help in a variety of ways. Some may drive a caregiving youth to an activity while others serve as mentors and tutors, and others help with events or in the office. These are just a few of the volunteer opportunities that are available.
Volunteers can make a significant difference in the quality of life of an entire family. Only an hour or two of your time can change a person’s life!
- Be aware of family health situations and the effects on the whole family, especially on children and their education.
- Know that parents & grandparents who are themselves overwhelmed may not realize the effects of family health situations on their children.
- Refer concerns about caregiving youth to the school nurse, social worker, or guidance counselor.
- Support school personnel in identifying and supporting caregiving youth
- Get your school involved! Reach out to us to explore opportunities to bring AACY to your school.