Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is proposing a national Care Corps program, modeled after the Peace Corps, that is designed to provide support for family caregivers and help meet the growing demand for the care of aging and disabled Americans.
Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s National Care Corps Act (H.R. 5288) will place volunteers in communities to work with seniors and individuals with disabilities who need extra support to live independently. In exchange, volunteers will receive health insurance and other benefits, such as tuition assistance.
The effort to connect younger volunteers with aging and disability populations will increase access to services and encourage growth in the direct care and health care workforce, while providing opportunity for young adults and others seeking exposure to a new field.
“We all want to remain as independent as we can for as long as we can,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “But there are significant barriers to seniors and people with disabilities who want to receive services in their homes or in community based settings.”
“Unfortunately, we’re facing high costs, along with a shortage of direct-care workers, which results in the lack of access to these important services, especially for middle class families. A national Care Corps will help build the workforce, while building intergenerational relationships that allow seniors and young people to learn from each other.”
Experts predict the U.S. will need to add at least 1 million more direct-care workers over the next 10 years to meet demand for caregivers. By 2030, there will be more than 72 million older Americans, making up 19-percent of the total population.
Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s bill would help to fill those gaps and provide opportunities for young adults and others looking for a new career.
Highlights of the Care Corps Act:
- The Care Corps would be created within the Administration for Community Living at the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Public or private non-profit groups would apply for Care Corps grants and administer the program locally, training and assigning members to communities in need.
- Volunteers would be trained to support the achievement and maintenance of the highest level of independent living; however, they would not provide professional medical services, administrative support services, or institutional care.
- Corps members would receive living allowances and benefits, including health insurance coverage, during their volunteer period, and would be eligible for tuition assistance or loan repayment after they complete their assignment.
- At least 20 percent of Care Corps volunteers would be placed in high-need areas.