Take Action Now to Save Caregiver Support Programs in Your State: Read More For Tips on Making the Case
Legislators need to hear from you about the importance of caregiver support programs. States are currently struggling with one of the deepest recessions on record. As a result, funding for essential services has been reduced or, in the worst cases, eliminated; the most vulnerable people in society have been forced to survive on even less; and social service providers have had to fight for the survival of their programs and agencies.
Services for family caregivers are no exception. Across the country, budgets for publicly funded caregiver support programs are among those not only reduced, but threatened with further cuts or elimination as the economy promises to get worse. These cuts could undo years of hard work establishing programs that focus on the health and well-being of family caregivers and their capacity to provide quality long-term care to their loved ones.
With the new year upon us, most states are starting the budget process for the next fiscal year governors are proposing budgets and legislators are trying to figure out how to balance their budgets with a mixture of spending cuts and new taxes. A year ago, going into Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, 48 states faced budget shortfalls totaling at least $166 billion. Consequently, at least 39 states cut key services that provide support to vulnerable residents. Now, going into FY 2011, projections indicate that states will face shortfalls as big as or bigger than they faced this year.
That's why governors and state legislators need to hear from everyone impacted by family caregivingthose who provide services to caregivers, those who run long-term care and caregiver support programs, those who receive care from a family member or friend, and especially from family caregivers themselves. Tell your own personal stories and experiences to your lawmakers. They need to hear how important caregiver support programs are and how many people will be impacted if those services go away.
For more information on the state budget crisis and what to tell lawmakers, read this new paper from FCA's National Center on Caregiving: Making the Case: Saving Your State's Caregiver Support Programs. It includes background information, statistics, talking points and a list of additional resources to help make the case for maintaining public funding for crucial caregiver support services.