Patti's Comments: Please urge Congress to increase funding for family support!
Congress is currently considering funding levels for the FY 09 Budget. Please urge members of the Senate and House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees to provide additional funding for key family support programs.
While over 80% of all long-term services and supports are delivered informally, little funding is provided to support family and other informal caregivers. Investing in family support is fiscally wise: The economic value of informal caregiving is over $350 billion a year. American businesses lose between $17.1 and $33.6 billion annually in lost productivity costs due to family members providing informal supports. Respite and other supports contribute to the well-being of caregivers and can reduce undesirable, costly placements in nursing homes and other institutions.
Funding for programs key family support programs has not kept pace with growing demands and pressures on families. Three important programs are:
National Family Caregiver Support Program
The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) is authorized under Older Americans Act. It is intended to provide a variety of supports to: a) caregivers of older individuals and individuals with Alzheimer's; b) older caregivers providing care to children and adults with disabilities. Funding for the NFCSP has not kept pace with an aging population and actually received a slight cut last year. It is currently funded at $153.4 million; it is recommended that Congress increase funding to $250 million for FY 09.
Lifespan Respite Care Act
The Lifespan Respite Care Act was signed into law by on December 21, 2006. It is intended to provide competitive grants to states to assist states in developing statewide respite systems to make quality respite available to family caregivers regardless of age or disability. However, it has not yet received any funding. It is recommended that Congress provide funding at the full authorization level of $53.3 million for FY 09.
Family Support Program
Title II of the Developmental Disabilities Act authorizes the Family Support Program to promote and strengthen systems of family support services to families with relatives with developmental disabilities. Currently, only 21 states receive grants and funding is provided through a different section of the Act. It is recommended that funding for family support be increased from approximately $7.2 million to $17 million for FY09 to allow every state and US territory to receive grants. It is also recommended that this funding be provided through Title II without negatively impacting funding for other initiatives within Projects of National Significance.
Contact members of the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees and urge them to provide funding for family support programs at the levels recommended above, which are consistent with recommendations from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).