WHO WE ARE
Vision of AACY – we envision a nation in which there is understanding, appreciation, and celebration of the lives of Caregiving Youth on their individual path to life’s dreams and opportunities.
Mission of AACY – we champion youth who provide care for chronically ill, injured, elderly, and/or disabled family members. We support their role as caregiver and guide their success in school and life.
Caregiving Youth are young people ages 18 and under who provide significant assistance or care to a family member who has a chronic illness, disability, mental health condition, or frailty due to aging. (They are called Young Carers in the UK.)
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
Caregiving for a loved one is among the most demanding, challenging, and rewarding human activities. Although children are commonly thought of as the recipients of care – rather than the givers – children all over the world participate actively in caregiving every day. The US does yet not have formal policies or support systems in place for these young people as we do for adult caregivers. Furthermore, schools do not typically identify or provide support for Caregiving Youth, which puts them at risk for academic, social, and emotional challenges. In the UK, the rights of “young carers” are recognized and upheld by national governments, caregiving advocacy groups, health care services, and schools. The United States needs to do the same.
The Doctors -Youth Caregivers
In 2018, “The Doctors” aired a captivating episode that shone a light on the struggles faced by Caregiving Youth. Inspired by the media attention garnered by Vice News, the show hosts delved deep into the challenges that these young caregivers face every day. They spoke to Jonathan and his mother, whose powerful story was featured by Vice, and also consulted with Dr. Connie Siskowski, RN, Ph.D., who provided valuable insights on the crucial role played by organizations like AACY in supporting these vulnerable youths. The episode is a must-watch for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the issues faced by Caregiving Youth, and why it’s so important that we take action to provide them with the resources and support they need to thrive.
AACY is the only organization in the US dedicated solely to addressing Caregiving Youth issues. It is pioneering advances toward understanding the needs of Caregiving Youth while facilitating identification, support, and advocacy initiatives.
- Thanks to the leadership and advocacy actions of AACY, Florida was the first to acknowledge Caregiving Youth in its 2019 Florida Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of public middle and high school students. Results indicated that 16.4% of high schoolers and 23.6% of middle schoolers, or more than 290,000 youth provide care.
- AACY has demonstrated that academic and personal success outcomes are improved when Caregiving Youth are recognized and supported. The AACY Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) boasts an 8-year average high school graduation rate of 97.9%; more than 90% of these students go on to post-secondary education, and many seek a career in health care, a needed labor force as the U.S. population ages. Our programs keep families together and have helped children: school performance, attendance, graduation rates, mental health, and well-being all improve with CYP support.
- AACY has an important role in the United States and has been a leader in Caregiving Youth issues in our nation for over 16 years. It’s Caregiving Youth Institute (CYI) seeks to further raise awareness of the multi-system needs of all Caregiving Youth and provide national solutions and support through the multiple initiatives of Connection, Advocacy, Research, and Education (C.A.R.E.).
- AACY’s people, programs, and young caregiver stories have been featured in many national media publications advocating for and informing the public on Caregiving Youth issues.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING CAREGIVING YOUTH IN THE UNITED STATES
Caregiving can be a stressful and demanding role, especially for young people who are still developing physically and emotionally. Providing support helps alleviate their stress and improve their overall well-being.
The stresses of caregiving affect a young person’s academic performance and school attendance. Providing support and accommodations helps ensure they are able to attend school, learn, and thrive. No child should have to drop out of school or life because of family caregiving.
Caregiving Youth may feel socially isolated. Providing support can help connect them with other caregivers, give them opportunities for fun, and to make friends with kids in similar situations.
Caregiving Youth assist with care that would otherwise need to be provided by paid caregivers. Supporting this population reduces the economic burden on the healthcare system and society. $8.5 billion was the 2012 estimated economic value of unpaid labor of Caregiving Youth in the US; today, the monetary value is much higher.
Supporting Caregiving Youth can also help prepare them for future responsibilities and develop their life skills; many Caregiving Youth choose healthcare careers for their futures.
DONATE to the American Association of Caregiving Youth.
There are over 5.4M Caregiving Youth in the United States. Caregiving Youth are young people aged 18 and under who provide significant assistance or care to a family member with a chronic illness, disability, mental health condition, or frailty due to aging. (They are called Young Carers in the UK.)
Many thanks to our team, volunteers, members of the CYI Research Collaborative, board, donors, advisory council, parents, school administrators, teachers, and all who champion Caregiving Youth. You make a difference.
We invite you to join us. We’ve set ambitious goals and actively seek major funding, partnerships, and affiliate opportunities to benefit kids across Palm Beach County, Florida, and the rest of the United States. Reach out and connect with us.
Our programs rely on contributions from people and organizations who support the Caregiving Youth movement locally and nationally.
Volunteer for our Caregiving Youth Project direct services programs in Palm Beach County.