Representatives Scott, Lee, Frankel Call Upon GAO to Conduct Study on Caregiving Youth

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Scott (VA-03) as well as members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Lois Frankel (FL-21) sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the GAO conduct a study on minors under 18 years of age who serve as a primary or secondary caregiver for a family member, also known as caregiving youth.

“Many caregiving youth assist parents or other relatives who are also caregiving. These youth face challenges balancing their caregiving responsibilities with their education, mental health, and wellbeing, yet they often do not have access to the resources and services available to adult family caregivers or other vulnerable youth populations, which are already limited,” the lawmakers wrote. “In order to better serve the caregiving youth population, we need more precise data on the actual number of youth in this population, what programs are currently available to them, what challenges they face, and how federal programs can better serve them.

They continued, “A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP has indicated that there may be as many as three to five million young people in our country serving as a primary or secondary caregiver for a parent, guardian, grandparent, or sibling. However, the actual number of youth in this population remains unknown due to limited data collection, and many families are reluctant to share information on caregiving youth. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of young people caring for family members. Currently, only two states formally collect data on whether youth are involved in caregiving.”

The lawmakers are asking that the study conducted by GAO examine issues such as the number and characteristics of caregiving youth, the extent to which the substance abuse crisis and COVID-19 have increased the number of caregiving youth, the challenges they face and resources that would help address those challenges, and the extent to which existing federal programs assist caregiving youth. 

Click here to read the letter as delivered. 


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