Help for a ‘hidden population’ of caregiving kids
Connie Siskowski is helping young people who have to take care of an ill, disabled or aging family member. Since 2006, her nonprofit has provided assistance to more than 500 young caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.
According to a 2006 study conducted by Civic Enterprises for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 22% of high school dropouts in the United States leave school to care for a family member (PDF).
It's these children who Siskowski had in mind when her group started the Caregiving Youth Project at Boca Raton Middle School. The project, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to intervene early on in the academic lives of youth caregivers.
Special classes, led by a mental-health professional or social worker, cover topics such as coping with stress and anger, managing finances and setting goals.