Bill to Authorize Caregiver Corps Activities Introduced in Congress
Last week, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Care Corps Demonstration Act to strengthen the country's caregiving workforce and to help meet the growing demand for caregivers to support older Americans and people with disabilities.
The bill formally authorizes funding for grants to local Care Corps programs that place volunteers in communities where they will provide services that help older adults remain independent while providing volunteers with an opportunity to stay socially engaged in their communities, in addition to the health benefits volunteering provides. This volunteer corps aims to build the caregiving and health care workforce needed to meet the growing demand for services foster opportunities to build intergenerational relationships within communities.
While this legislation, if passed, provides the underlying authorization for these activities, in the FY 2019 appropriations bill, lawmakers provided initial funding through ACL to seed these national activities. As a result, n4a recently partnered with several organizations to launch the National Community Care Corps. This collaborative has already awarded funding to 23 local organizations across the country to establish, enhance, or grow programs deploying volunteers to support to older adults and their caregivers by handling non-medical tasks, providing companionship, and relieving over-burdened family caregivers.
Although the introduction of the Care Corp Demonstration Act is an important step toward securing long-term viability for a volunteer caregiver corps, additional appropriations will be necessary to ensure that these local efforts continue to receive federal funding support.