What is the 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 chronically 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 Issue:
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.
 
The Reasons:
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.
  • Click here to see what goes on inside a young caregiver!
 
The Services:
The Caregiving Youth Projects breaks through the barriers with direct services:
  • In School - Skills-Building classes and Lunch and Learn Sessions;
  • At Home - home visits by a social worker links families with resources, provides laptops, respite, tutoring and solutions for special needs.
  • Out of School - overnight Camp Treasure and Reunion Camp, picnics, college prep, other education and fun activiites.
 
The Result:
Integrated CYP services strengthen students, families, schools and communities. Youth caregivers learn they are no longer alone and their families feel cared about:
  • As of June 30, 2018 more than 1,500 youth caregivers and their families have enrolled in the CYP. Typically they begin with CYP from 6th grade and are from 26 middle and high schools in Palm Beach County, FL. There are more than 600 active students just in the region from Boca Raton to West Palm Beach with many more yet unreached who need services and will receive them when resources are available.
  • Youth caregivers elect to remain with the CYP into high school - and they do for an average of 5.46 years concluding with a 97.7% graduation rate and more than 90% going on to post-secondary education!
  • Caregiving youth report that the CYP has helped them with grades, confidence, skills, family life, communication and managing anger and stress.