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New York State Family Caregiver Council

Background:
Recognizing the value of family and other informal caregivers to the independence of persons of all ages with disabilities, the Governor and the Legislature established the New York State Family Caregiver Council in the 2007-2008 state budget. The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) was designated as the lead agency to coordinate the work of the Council. The Council includes caregivers across the age and care spectrum, community advocates, academic experts in caregiving issues and New York State government agencies. The Council's mission is to provide guidance, advice, and recommendations that will enable the state to develop policies and programs that support caregiving by reducing barriers and enhancing support for individuals who provide care for friends, family or community members of all ages and all levels of ability.

Accomplishments of the Family Caregiver Council:
The Council submitted preliminary recommendations to NYSOFA in 2008 and then began the work of drafting final recommendations and preparing a report that was submitted in late 2009. The report, Supporting and Strengthening Caregivers in New York State 2009.

The recommendations include overarching topic areas:

  1. Strengthen Services and Programs that Support Caregivers and Care Recipients
  2. Increase Information and Outreach
  3. Encourage Civic Engagement/Community Empowerment
  4. Continue the Development of a State/Local Infrastructure Increase Training/Education
  5. Educate and Involve Business and Workforce
  6. Improve the Rights of Caregivers
  7. Enhance Housing Options and Supports

These recommendations are consistent with the New York State Office for the Aging's continuing efforts to advance community-centered, family-centered, caregiver-centered and customer-centered approaches to meeting the needs of older adults and caregivers for persons of any age.

All of the Council's recommendations recognize the importance of caregivers and community-based care and support services. They incorporate cultural, linguistic, age-related, sexual orientation, and disability competencies, as well as the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Councils General Principles and Guidelines. They address caregivers caring for people across the lifespan, and recognize the interconnected relationships, program needs, and issues for the caregiver and care receiver.

Council members, including the state agency ex officio members, are currently being asked to support and advise on NYSOFA's work under the Lifespan Respite grant to expand and strengthen the New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition (NYSCRC) and develop a statewide coordinated system, increasing access to respite services for families across age/disability spectrums, including access to emergency respite services.