Caregiving Youth Project (CYP)
"I have learned I am no longer alone"
The CYP is the first US comprehensive program to address the challenges faced by children who take care of ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. It promotes social and system change by integrating healthcare (body), education (mind) and the community (spirit) to create a solid foundation of support services.
The stressors and responsibilities of caregiving have profound effects on education, health and overall development of youth; all youth deserve the opportunity to learn, experience childhood and become productive adults.
Learning, a child's job, requires focus and occurs at school, at home and at play;
Focus for the student is tough when family health conditions create a decline in independence accompanied by stressors and require caregiving;
Family caregiving is typically an adult responsibility; but adults are not always available, thus thrusting children into this role;
More than a million young people bathe, dress, feed, assist with walking, give medications and do many other tasks for family members leaving little play time.
The Caregiving Youth Projects breaks through the barriers with direct services:
In School - skills-building classes, support groups, and lunch and learn sessions;
At Home - linking families with resources, providing computers, tutoring and solutions for special needs;
Out of School - overnight camp, fishing, dining, educational and fun activities.
Integrated CYP services strengthen students, families, schools and communities.
As of June 30, 2014 more than 700 youth caregivers and their families have enrolled in the CYP. Typically they begin with CYP from 6th grade and are from seven middle schools in Palm Beach County, FL. There are more than 550 middle and high school students who are currently active with many more yet unreached who need services.
Youth caregivers elect to remain with the CYP into high school - and they do!
Caregiving youth report that CYP has helped them with grades, confidence, skills, family life, communication and managing anger and stress.