Posted on April 1, 2015
Job | New York, NY, US
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Caring Across Generations brings together aging Americans, people with disabilities, workers, and their families to protect all Americans' right to choose the care and support they need to live with dignity.
We are a movement of family members, workers, and fellow Americans supported by a growing coalition of organizations advocating for a system of quality, dignified care. We believe every American should be able to choose the care they want based on their needs—and that every American would benefit from being a part of a more supportive care system. Improving the way we provide care for one another will create an economy and a society that works for all of us.
Every 8 seconds, another person turns 65 in our country. At the same time, we are moving into the third decade of the Americans with Disabilities Act and our progressing in our work to become more accessible and inclusive. Changing the way we care offers an opportunity to reinvigorate our economy, strengthen our communities, and uphold our national ideals. By working together we can increase every family's access to the care and support they need at a price they can afford and create millions of high quality in-home care jobs.
Our Policy Pillars
Support for Consumers and Families
We know what it means to be responsible for our families, including seniors and people with disabilities, and we know that care workers are an important part of that support. Caring Across Generations proposes a set of policy solutions to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities receive care and services that are high quality, dignified, and affordable. This includes additional public funding for long-term services and supports, reforming the private market for long term care insurance, and creating refundable tax credits for working age individuals whose incomes are too high for them to qualify for Medicaid but too low to pay for care. Caring Across Generations is also committed to policy reforms that would eliminate the institutional bias in Medicaid. To support family members who are providing care for their loved ones, we propose the creation of a social insurance program to provide paid family and medical leave, as well as social security caregiver credits for those who leave the workforce to provide care.
Americans need care workers and America needs jobs. Already, around 10 million adults, half of whom are under the age of 65, do no get the home care support they need. And with a member of the baby boomer generation turning 65 every eight seconds, America is projected to need 1.6 million additional direct care workers by 2020. The current home care workforce simply cannot support our nation's needs. Caring Across Generations' policy agenda helps us come together to meet these fast-growing needs — to create jobs and allow every American to live and age with dignity. We can put our country back to work in high quality jobs and help provide the care that America needs at the same time.
Home care is one of the fastest growing industries in our economy, providing critical daily care, services, and supports to millions of individuals and families across the country. However, the quality of home care jobs is very poor. Home care workers often face low wages, few benefits, high turnover, and a high level of job stress and hazards. As Americans, we believe you should get paid a fair wage for the work you do, that you should not have to work when you are sick, that you should not be abused or exploited by your boss.
At the same time, Caring Across Generations is committed to ensuring that increased costs from raising wages and improving benefits do not lead to reductions in services to consumers. In fact, Caring Across Generations supports requiring each state to create a registry connecting consumers and providers of in-home services to help expand care choices for all Americans.
Training and Career Ladders
Caring Across Generations wants to improve the quality of home care in America. Seniors and people with disabilities deserve care workers with the knowledge, skills, and support to do their jobs well. Current federal training requirements for home health aides have not been changed in more than 20 years, and there are no federal standards for training or certification of personal care attendants. This fragmented structure of training requirements hurts workers, too, by limiting mobility between jobs and prospects for career advancement.
Roadmap to Citizenship
Immigration reform presents a remarkable opportunity to address the critical, rapidly growing need for quality in-home care while allowing millions of immigrant care workers to come out of the shadows, improving care and empowering workers to contribute to economic growth.
Immigration reform must ensure that eligibility for legal status and citizenship at any stage is not linked to proof of work and that there are no onerous fines, application fees, or English language requirements. Such measures would effectively exclude many low-wage domestic and home care workers, as well as low-income seniors and people with disabilities, from the road to citizenship.
Our vision for immigration reform also includes providing a legal means for future care workers to enter the country when there is a shortage in the domestic care labor markets. Fair wages and strong job protections, including the right to change employers, to seek citizenship, and to full protections under the federal and state law to the same extent that other US workers are protected, are also integral to stabilizing America's care system while providing quality care for consumers and fair and just treatment for workers.