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About the Family Caregiver Platform Project

The Family Caregiver Platform Project (FCPP) works to get caregiving issues included in as many state party platforms as possible.

The FCPP is a national collaborative effort between major organizations. Together with its national partners, the FCPP encourages nonpartisan grassroots efforts to educate and motivate policymakers to improve state and federal support for family caregivers and older adults. The FCPP works with individual volunteers and organizations to raise awareness of caregiving issues. It doesn’t matter which party you belong to! We care about the issues, not the parties themselves.

During the 2016 political season, many state parties revised their platforms. In 2016 our volunteers made 29 language submissions in 22 states. Language was officially adopted in eight state party platforms, one state party resolution, and two state bipartisan legislative resolutions. Moreover, both Democrats and Republicans included language in their 2016 National Platforms affirming the importance of family caregiving.

During 2017, you can continue to work at the local level to encourage discussion of caregiving issues in your political setting. You can download customizable platform language templates to minimize the effort to prepare submissions to local groups, caucus meetings, city councils, and legislative committees.

To get involved, subscribe to the FCPP update at and read an overview of your state party platform process with key dates. You can send the FCPP an email message at info@caregivercorps.org.

In 2016, the FCPP was supported by a grant from the Lawrence & Rebecca Stern Family Foundation to The Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness (CECAI) at Altarum Institute, which continues to support the effort on a pro bono basis. The project was also made possible through the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program, through the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Why Political Platforms Matter

Adopting better policies in state party platforms can be a first step in creating a positive policy climate nationally. A platform is a declaration of where a party stands on issues. Not all parties adopt a state platform. Some adopt party resolutions that are statements of policy, not “platforms,” but that help guide legislative initiatives within the state. Whatever the parties call them, these statements of values are important guidance mechanisms for political action within a state.

Eventually, aging people need improved federal aging policies, not just state-by-state advances. There is a relationship between state and federal policy in which some improvements will be demonstrated first at the state level, and later disseminated nationally. In other cases, federal rule changes will affect caregiving options across many states.

About Caregiving

As millions of us embrace the gift of longer lives in the 21st century, our communities will increasingly need to support their elderly residents so that these residents can age in place and live in dignity. Seven out of 10 of us will need assistance from another person. We will need help with simple activities such as eating, bathing, and moving from place to place. That’s why we need a community that cares.

Unless we act to make home caregiving more feasible for more people, professional care will be the only alternative. Institutional care comes at a high cost, often supported by taxes. Few people would choose institutional care if home care were possible. Allowing people to remain at home for as long as feasible is both more compassionate and more cost-effective.

There are many kinds of families and community needs. Recognizing diversity is important to all of us. The FCPP uses the word “family” to mean all those who are bound to the person who is ill or disabled by friendship, relationship, or law. There are also many ways to improve the lives of caregivers. Options for action vary by state and community.

2015 Submissions

The FCPP had a busy year in 2015. Many volunteers helped to submit language proposals in 2015. Volunteers found that the process was easy and fun. Most parties welcome participation by people within their state and are quite grateful for suggestions.

● The FCPP submitted language to the National Republican Party via the party website in December 2015, with the help of caregiver advocates in New York and Illinois.
● The Arizona Democratic Party received a platform submission in August 2015 and a resolution proposal shortly thereafter.
● The Arkansas Republican Party received a platform submission in December 2015.
● The California Democratic Party received platform submissions in October and November 2015.
● The California Republican Party received a platform submission in September 2015 but subsequently adopted its 2016 platform without including language relating to caregivers.
● The Georgia Democratic Party received a platform submission in December 2015.
● The Maine Democratic Party received a platform submission in December 2015.
● The New Mexico Republican Party received a platform submission in December 2015.
● The Oregon Democratic Party received a platform submission in December 2015.
● The Vermont Democratic Party received a platform submission in October 2015.

Want to Know More?

  • Visit the Family Caregiver Platform Project website at caregivercorps.org.
  • Send an email message to info@caregivercorps.org to learn more about how to get involved.

Focus on Community Catalyst

The Family Caregiver Platform Project (FCPP) is pleased to have Community Catalyst as one of our National Partners. Working together we can bring about changes to better serve the needs of family caregivers. Community Catalyst is a consumer advocacy organization working in 40 states. Kate Villers, President and Founder of Community Catalyst, says of their mission, “Each state is different, with a different political environment, so there is no single, cookie-cutter approach.“

Community Catalyst’s state-based partners provide leadership to state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations. Their experts assist state activists with research information, technical support, and political strategies to ensure consumers have a voice in decisions that affect their health. They share our view that community leadership is essential to transform the health care and social services that caregivers depend on.

Community Catalyst ran a guest editorial about the FCPP in the January 14, 2016 issue of their newsletter, The Dual Agenda. The piece by Victoria Walker, MD, explains how the goals of the FCPP overlap with those of Community Catalyst. You can subscribe to The Dual Agenda newsletter at communitycatalyst.org.

If any issue can unite communities across America it is caregiving. It’s easy and fun to bring caregiver issues to the attention of your local representatives. Many states are organizing now in preparation for caucuses and conventions. Go to Find Your State to discover upcoming events you can attend. You can download model language that can be customized for platform plank or resolution submission in your own state.

We urgently need your help. You can make a difference!

Family Caregiving Enters Presidential Campaign

A presidential candidate has proposed a policy recommendation to support caregivers. Pledging to invest in the “caring economy,” Hillary Clinton proposed a new tax credit and Social Security earning credits for those who care for aging parents and grandparents. We expect that more presidential candidates will discuss family caregiving issues as the campaign season heats up.

The Democratic presidential candidate touted her latest proposal at a town hall-style meeting in this Mississippi River city about 200 miles east of Des Moines. She is seeking a tax credit to help offset up to $6,000 in caregiving costs for elderly family members. The credit would apply to 20% of those expenses for a maximum tax bill savings of $1,200. She wants people to be able to earn credits toward their monthly Social Security retirement benefits during the time they drop out of the workforce to care for elderly relatives.

A Next Avenue piece on this story mentions the Family Caregiver Platform Project with a link under the subhead “Boosting Caregivers Social Security Benefits”. It’s a good report that gives other Democratic and Republican views. We’re also mentioned at the end of the article under “How to Motivate the Candidates”.

Read the full story at: http://www.nextavenue.org/how-hillary-clinton-wants-to-help-family-caregivers/

LA Times coverage: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-hillary-clinton-taxes-20151123-story.html

Why Advocates are Trying to Push Caregiving onto the 2016 Presidential Agenda

Caregiving is becoming an important topic for the nation to pay attention to, and it is great that the Washington Post is shining the light on family caregiver needs. On October 20, the Washington Post ran an article explaining why caregiving discussions should be on the 2016 presidential agenda. Our Family Caregiver Platform Project and other state representatives and organizations were mentioned for their efforts to introduce legislature on family caregivers. Most presidential candidates have stayed silent about caregivers, but the article listed other organizations that are advocating for family caregiver needs, training, and supports. Presidential candidates should become aware of caregiver needs, speak out on the behalf of these issues, and initiate political action as the election day draws closer.

The link to the full Washington Post article by Tara Bahrampour can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/caregiving-gets-political-as-organizers-push-issue-onto-local-national-agendas/2015/10/20/479fee44-72aa-11e5-8d93-0af317ed58c9_story.html

Caregivers Start to Raise Their Voices

The movement to include caregiver issues in the agenda of political parties in all 50 states has started to take off, thanks to the efforts of volunteers in Arizona and California. With the help of the caregivercorps.org team, submissions for platform language additions have been made to both political parties. And the stage is set for caregivers, and those who support them, to join forces in creating awareness and change.

Arizona volunteers Katherine Evans, Lois von Halle, and Bonnie Danowski drafted language about caregiver needs to add to the platform of the Arizona Democratic Party. They attended an open meeting of the Party’s Platform Committee where they met with the committee chair, Dr. Janie Hydrick. Ms. Danowski said they received a warm welcome and that the process had been much easier than anticipated. Energized by their success, the three women plan to meet with representatives of the Arizona Republican Party.

In California, state coordinator Naomi Kirschenbaum has submitted platform language suggestions to both the Democratic and Republican Parties. She recently attended a meeting of the California Democratic Party in Burlingame. At the meeting, the chairperson clarified the party’s platform as a statement of values. Ms. Kirschenbaum was well prepared when her turn to speak came, and handed a written statement to the Platform Committee co-chair as well. She has been so inspired by her experiences that she wants to help organize an additional state!

This is a grassroots movement that needs to be fueled by the passion of local people. The success of our goal—to get caregiving issues included in party platforms across the country—depends on people from all walks of life joining us. Your participation, on whatever level is possible, is key. Model platform plank language is being created for submission to political parties in other states. We will make those templates available on the caregivercorps.org website to support volunteer organizing efforts.

The voices of 65 million caregivers joined together would be impossible to ignore. There will be many meetings in communities leading up to the 2016 election, opportunities for you to make your voice heard. If you want to join us, find out more at Get Started. Contact us at info@caregivercorps.org.

Download:

California Democratic Party Submission, August 11, 2015