Youth As Family Caregivers

There is a crisis within a population segment of the family caregiver community.  This population segment involves youth caregivers under the age of 18.  According to the American Association of Caregiver Youth (2023), there are over 5.4 million children and teenagers that serve as family caregivers.  Further, as reported by the Society for Research in Child Development (Social Policy Report, Vol. 34, Issue 2, pgs. 1-24, 2021) these youth caregivers experience It has been found that these individuals are more likely to experience frustration, anxiety, and depression when compared to their non-caregiving counterparts.  Compounding this stress is the need to balance conflicting responsibilities that include caregiving and school work.

 

The youth caregiver crisis is further compounded by their high school drop-out rates.  According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2019), approximately 26% of all students who drop-out of high school do so because they were caregivers.  Such data are alarming because students who drop out of school tend to have higher unemployment rates, lower income levels, poorer health as adults, more likely to become incarcerated, and have higher missed opportunities for education and career than their non-caregiver counterparts (Facing the School Dropout Dilemma, American Psychological Association, 2012).

 

In 2024, the Caregiver Coalition Fund of America will launch its Youth as Family Caregiver Division.  The Division will establish programs that will support youth caregivers; especially those who have dropped out of school.  In addition, the Division will strive to work with school districts to identify students who are caregivers and are at risk of dropping out of school.

 

News For Family Caregivers