25 Children Who Are Caregivers in Palm Beach County Can you imagine a sixth grader coming home from school and having to immediately take care of a family member? Not being able to go outside with his or her friends or study, but coming home to be a “primary care giver.” More than 1.3 million children in the United States sacrifice their education, health and emotional growth to assume the role of family caregiver. There are over 10,000 student-caregivers in Palm Beach County schools. The Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) identifies and supports this hidden population of children who sacrifice their education, health, well-being, and childhood to provide care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. During the past 10 years, the CYP has served 1,342 youth caregivers and their families. It provides in-school therapeutic support groups, out of school educational and recreational (respite) activities, family evaluation home visits, and most importantly, the opportunity for youth caregivers to learn they are not alone by connecting them with other kids dealing with the same issues. In 2016 and 2017 97.2% of the 108 high school seniors that CYP worked with graduated high school, versus under 80% of high school seniors with the same ethnic diversity as the caregivers CYP works with. HOT has made many grants to CYP including: (i) purchase computers and monitors for kids to complete schoolwork, research medical information, pay bills, and secure employment, (ii) provide blocks of respite, (iii) buy laptops for the staff to enter data while in the field, (iv) purchase equipment for the CYP office and (v) set up a fund to handle emergencies of caregivers and their families. Similar to all of HOT’s Emergency Financial Aid Funds, we do not permit this fund to be used unless all other potential sources of funds have been exhausted and we believe this is a one-time problem. Sadly, it is almost axiomatic that a family that cannot afford non-family caregivers cannot fund financial emergencies. In the last two years, we helped 34 families with problems they might not have ever recovered from. This year CYP is asking for: • $1,600 for 4 workshops on diseases the caregivers have to deal with @ $400 per workshop • $3,600 for 9 laptops + memory sticks • $4,500 for 3 respite sleepovers for middle school children (something these kids never get to do) • $8,640 for 120 four-hour blocks of respite care @ $72 per four-hour block.