$128 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Family Caregivers

The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has approved the release of $128 million in grants to states under the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which helps family members provide care for the elderly at home. States will use the grants to run programs that provide critical support, including home and community-based services, to help families maintain their caregiver roles.

“With courage, compassion and dedication, family caregivers can help the elderly and people with disabilities to stay in a loving environment, and caregivers often sacrifice their own physical, mental and financial health to do so,” Secretary Thompson said. “These grants will fund community services and resources that will ease the burden on hundreds of thousands of family caregivers nationwide.”

The grants will support states that work with area agencies on aging and community service providers, to better serve caregivers who are struggling to care for their loved ones while holding jobs and juggling other responsibilities.

Services provided include information and assistance, counseling, support groups and training, respite services so that the caregiver can get a short break when needed, and supplemental services that complement care provided by informal caregivers. The program also assists grandparents raising grandchildren and older individuals providing care to children with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

The grants are part of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which is administered by HHS’ Administration on Aging (AoA). Created in 2000 under the Older Americans Act, the program also provides grants for innovative caregiving programs and support for Native American elders. For fiscal year 2002, the program received an appropriation of $141.5 million, a $16.5 million increase from the previous year’s funding.

In fiscal year 2001, HHS released the first grants to states under the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and awarded $6 million for 34 innovative caregiver grants and $5 million for a new program to serve caregivers of Native American elders.

AoA also is developing a national awareness campaign on the increasing role that caregivers play in the lives of all Americans and to inform them of services available in their communities through this important program.

“In the first year since enactment of the program, state and area agencies, tribal organizations and local service providers have displayed great creativity and diligence in implementing the National Family Caregiver Support Program,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell said. “I am proud of what they have accomplished on behalf of our nation’s families and those we are entrusted to serve.”

More information on this program is available at:

http://www.aoa.gov/carenetwork/

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