CAREGIVING YOUTH PROJECT

"I have learned I am no longer alone…"

The CYP is the first US comprehensive program to address the challenges faced by children who take care of chronically ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. It promotes social and system change by integrating healthcare (body), education (mind) and the community (spirit) to create a solid foundation of support services in and out of school and at home.
The stressors and responsibilities of caregiving have profound effects on education, health and overall development of youth; all youth deserve the opportunity to learn, experience childhood and become productive adults.
Learning, a child’s job, requires focus and occurs at school, at home and at play;
  • 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.
Integrated CYP services strengthen students, families, schools and communities. Caregiving Youth learn they are no longer alone and their families feel cared about:
  • As of December 30, 2020 more than 1,800 Caregiving Youth and their families have enrolled in the CYP. Typically they begin with CYP from 6th grade and are from 33 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 23 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 a six year average 98.3% high school graduation rate and more than 90% going on to post-secondary education!
  • Caregiving Youth report that the CYP has helped them with grades, confidence, skills, family life, communication and managing anger and stress.
  • 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
  • Connect, when possible, caregiving youth peers with each other
  • Foster relationships with community support services to strengthen caregiving families
  • Encourage caregiving youth to read I’m a Teen Caregiver. Now What? and request help by calling their local information hotline
  • Advocate for caregiving youth with legislators, religious and business leaders, the public and in educational and professional groups
  • Attend the Caregiving Youth Institute conferences
  • Take a proactive role – contact AACY about developing a Caregiving Youth Project or components of it through a non-profit in your community
  • Refer students to Internet resources especially including www.aacy.org – American Association of Caregiving Youth

Thank you on behalf of our nation’s more than 3.4 million caregiving youth!

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Our programs rely on contributions from our community.

If you are able to donate to American Association of Caregiving Youth, please do so here.

If you are able to volunteer for our programs or at our events, contact us here.

Thank you!